Thursday, September 15, 2011

Jacoby is even more awesome than you think

"Jacoby Ellsbury will become the most popular Red Sox player ever."   - Me, 2008

A few years ago when he was first breaking in with the Sox, I used to say this to my friends all the time.  They thought I was nuts, but to me my logic was sound: He was young, fast, and girls loved him.  And in the ever growing age of "pink hat" Red Sox fans, those things seemed like the key ingredients to making his jersey the top seller.  Then last year's injury plagued debacle of a season came around, and my theory looked particularly idiotic.  But after what he's done this year, does it really seem that far fetched?

Consider this: He is the BEST player in the American League right now.  And honestly it's not even that close.  He's 5th in the league in batting average at .320.  3rd in runs scored with 109.  3rd in hits with 191.  7th in doubles with 42.  4th in steals with 36.  8th in on base percentage at .379.

Now all of those numbers make sense for a speedy leadoff hitter.  But what about these?!?:  He's 9th in HR with 27.  9th in RBI with 94.  7th in OPS at .923.  And this is the one I think is the craziest of all: He's 6th in the league in SLUGGING % at .544.  SIXTH!

Jacoby is the only player who ranks in the top 10 in virtually every offensive statistic.  There are a few other guys that are also in the top 10 in many categories, but none of them have speed.  And none of them are LEADOFF hitters.  In fact only Dustin Pedroia (12th) and Curtis Granderson (13th) even rank in the Top 50 in steals and also in the top 10 in more than one other major offensive category.

And then there is this: Ellsbury never hit an opposite field HR in the major leagues until 2 weeks ago.  Then on Tuesday he did it again.  Coincidence?  Probably.  But maybe he is just learning to hit that way.  He's only 28 years old, just entering his prime.  It's possible he could get even better.

Assuming he doesn't leave as a free agent after next year, why couldn't he become the most popular Red Sox player of all time?

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