Forgotten Man

It is hard to imagine how any baseball players manage to slip from memory when they play under the intense media microscope in Boston. And yet, that is exactly what happened to Jacoby Ellsbury after an injury-filled 2010 campaign.

A suspicious cloud of injuries and strange self doubt limited Ellsbury to a mere 18 games in 2010. Questions arose about his commitment to his team. As the great Red Sox Beacon points out, Ellsbury hopes to put all that behind him in 2011, starting with a huge spring. While the numbers are somewhere south of meaningless, Ellsbury is clubbing Grapefruit pitching to the tune of a 1.142 OPS.

Jacoby Ellsbury isn’t the greatest offensive outfielder in baseball but his blazing speed and willingness to take the odd walk (7.1% during his excellent 2009 season) certainly make him valuable, especially at the top of a powerful, patient lineup. Miscast as a centerfielder, Ellsbury can use his range to certain advantage in left field, leveraging the Green Monster to help hide his weak throwing arm.

Jays fans should pay close attention to the career path of Jacoby Ellsbury, as he seems like a logical comparison to prospect porn star Anthony Gose. Tiny bit of patience, enough power to keep you honest, and mayhem on the bases. Gose has the defensive skills to step in today, some figure, but his offense holds him back. Ellsbury didn’t make his AA d├ębut until the age of 22, so there is still plenty of time for Gose to grow and develop similar, league-average offensive skills.

The stacked Red Sox don’t figure to need much offensive help from the far-flung regions of their lineup. Ellsbury’s incredible base stealing just adds another dimension to their already vaunted attack. With an aging and somewhat injury prone outfield, the more Ellsbury can contribute to the Red Sox cause, the better a summer it will be in New England.