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Player Profile #13: Jacoby Ellsbury | OF | BOS

Jacoby Ellsbury won’t hit 32 homers again, but that doesn’t mean the power surge was a fluke. For years scouts have been waiting for Ellsbury to reveal the power that laid dormant in his bat, and last season he was able to make the necessary adjustments to become one of the most balanced — and fearsome — offensive threats in baseball. Personally, I’ll be moderately shocked if Ellsbury doesn’t hit at least 18 homers, and something in the 20-24 range is a pretty good bet. Toss in his elite run and stolen base totals, and you have a recipe for a first-round caliber fantasy talent. After all, Ellsbury has ranked in the top five in two of the last three seasons.

Best case scenario: Last season with a couple fewer HR and RBI
Similar players: Carlos Gonzalez (COL), Ryan Braun (MIL), Ian Kinsler (TEX)
Worst case scenario: Dustin Pedroia (BOS)

Strengths

Complete balance, lineup, vs. LHP. Ellsbury topped 70 home runs and stolen bases last season. Only Matt Kemp had more. He bats leadoff for a very potent Red Sox lineup with proven run producers batting after him, and fewer than 110 runs would be a major surprise. Despite being a lefty, Ellsbury has remained immune to left-handed pitching. For his career he’s a .299 hitter against lefties and .301 against righties.

Weaknesses

Injuries? Ellsbury played just 18 games in 2010 with a poorly managed rib injury, and many on the team questioned his toughness. Is that really the case? It’s never a good idea to projected injuries, only to adjust a player’s value based on risk of injury. I wouldn’t say Ellsbury is an injury risk because he played 158 games last year and 153 in 2009, but memories of 2010 might linger in the minds of some.

ADP Report (8.9)

We ranked Ellsbury 13th, but I’d say go ahead and draft him as early as seven or eight. He’s a lock for 60-plus homers and steals, and that comes with the reassurance of a .300-ish batting average, something you can’t get from players like Ian Kinsler. Ellsbury really has no holes in his game.

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Updated: March 2, 2012 — 9:07 am
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