Monday, May 18

In Praise of Youth

Just wanted to take a quick moment today from all the negative Boston sports stories to write something a bit more optimistic. So here's a bit of praise for the red hot Jacoby Ellsbury. Jacoby is now hitting .344 over his last baker's dozen games, each of which he has hit in.

On the season, he's now holding steady at .300. Only five other centerfielders in all of baseball lie on the other side of that threshold---Carlos Beltran, Adam Jones, Kosoke Fukudome, Torii Hunter, and Marlon Byrd. Not bad company at all for the 25 year old to be keeping. Among all centerfielders, only Beltran has more hits than Jacoby, with a 53 to 48 advantage. And in steals, none of the others is touching him right now.

Really, the only drawbacks so far have been patience and gap power. Of Jacoby's 48 hits, 40 have been singles. And over the season, he has walked only 8 times, putting him in the cellar amongst elite centerfielders and largely explaining his surprisingly low .331 OBP.

Both areas, however, seem natural for a developing 25 year old hitter. All in all, I have to say that it looks like I might be proven wrong. I was one of the Jacoby doubters at the season's beginning. I loved the energy he brought to the position and the basepath, but I thought he had moved too far away from his slap-hitting roots and was in danger of getting lost in the mysteries of the upper-cut. I just didn't see the elite hitting talent developing. But a quick look at the numbers has put me right back on board. The kid really seems to be coming into his own.

1 comment:

D Vicino said...

I had similar Willie Mays Hays-Like concerns around Jacoby this season....but the 40 singles vs 48 hits stat you mention is slightly concerning on the other end of the arguement.

He could go from a good leadoff hitter to one of the true league elite if he could only find a little more plate discipline....not to mention he would save about 70 bases with a .375+ OBP.

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