Monday, November 19, 2012

2013 Bill James Projections - Jacoby Ellsbury

2011 projection: 157 games, .300 BA, .355 OBP, .409 SLG, 8 HR, 58 RBI

2011: 158 games, .321 BA, .376 OBP, .552 SLG, 32 HR, 105 RBI
2012 projection: 158 games, .304 BA, .362 OBP, .476 SLG, 19 HR, 72 RBI
2012: 74 games, .271 BA, .313 OBP, .370 SLG, 4 HR, 26 RBI
2013 projection: 152 games, .294 BA, .346 OBP, .436 SLG, 15 HR, 67 RBI

Looking at Jacoby Ellsbury's "games played" column on is like riding a roller coaster.  For the first few full years of his major league career, he played most of the season - and then came the 2010 Parade of Carnage, when broken ribs limited Ellsbury to just 18 games.  This was followed by a career season in 2011: Goldenboy played 158 games, was selected to the All Star Game, came in second in MVP voting, and claimed a Gold Glove and Silver Slugger. But then 2012 rolled around, with a meager 74 games played.

This past season was, yet again, marred by injury.  Especially when compared to 2011, 2012 was a HUGE disappointment for Ellsbury.  I sometimes fall into the trap of still thinking about Jacoby Ellsbury as the fresh-faced rookie that stole a base and won America a free taco in the 2007 World Series. But Goldenboy will be thirty years old next season, his seventh in the majors, and we still don't know what to expect from him in any given year.

Jacoby Ellsbury will be a free agent next offseason, and his agent is the infamous Scott Boras.  I think we will probably see a banner year from Ells, since everyone involved knows that the Red Sox will not be interested in paying the Scott Boras Premium when the time comes, and they'll want to showcase his talents to the entire league.  

That being said, I'm going to go out on a limb and say that 2011 was a one-time thing.  I don't think Ellsbury is a "face of the team, build a franchise around him" type player - partly because of the constant threat of injury. I think Bill James and his crew are right on: we'll see a resurgence from Ells, but not quite a return to the godliness of 2011.

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