Pinstripe Preview: Jacoby Ellsbury
Entering his fourth season with the Yankees, Jacoby Ellsbury has quickly become one of the more seasoned veterans on the team. Ellsbury signed a seven-year $153 million contract prior to the 2014 season. At age 33, Ellsbury is still a base stealing threat and that speed certainly makes him a productive outfielder in Major League Baseball. Unfortunately, Ellsbury hasn’t been able to stay 100% healthy. He played in 149 games in 2014, 111 in 2015, and 149 in 2016. He also hasn’t been the same .300 hitter he was on the Red Sox. The keys to success for Ellsbury this season are staying healthy and improving his offensive game.
Ellsbury has not been the same player the Yankees thought they signed before the 2014 season. In 2016 he had a slash line of .268/.330/.374 along with 56 RBIs and 20 stolen bases. He played in 148 games in 2016, which is one of his healthier seasons since making his major league debut in 2007. But it seems that his age is beginning to catch up with him as the majority of his stats are down in comparison to his years on the Red Sox. Prior to signing with the Yankees, Ellsbury has lead the league in steals three times in 2008 with 50, 2009 with 70, and 2013 with 52. The Yankees were certainly expecting Ellsbury to have more of an impact on the base paths than 20 steals.
Ellsbury has also dealt with multiple injuries during his time with the Yankees. In 2015 he dealt with an oblique injury and then a knee sprain that forced him to miss 51 games that season. 2016 was no different, in spring training Ellsbury suffered a wrist injury after being hit by a pitch and he injured his hip in May, which could have contributed to his lack of stolen bases. He was injured again in September, when the Yankees were in the midst of a postseason push, when he went down with a right knee injury.
The key to Ellsbury’s success in 2017 will be to stay healthy. If he can stay off the disabled list then he can bring the other parts of his game into play. The healthier he is, the more successful he will be at the plate, on the base paths, and in the field. He needs to exceed last year’s statistics by a wide margin to prove that the $21 million the Yankees will pay him this year is worth it. With Ellsbury and Brett Gardner together at the top of the lineup, the Yankees have two speed demons that can disrupt the opposing pitcher and help create runs. The Yankees’ offense can be very successful if Ellsbury can turn around his performance from last year and stay healthy.
Article by: Paul AlvaroFollow @PAlvaro18