- David Schoenfield, SweetSpot blogger
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How will Jacoby Ellsbury do with the Yankees in 2014? Let's play a little over/under with odds from Bovada.lv.
Batting average: .299
Ellsbury hit .298 in 2013 and is a career .297 hitter. He hit .300 on the road, .296 in Fenway in 2013, and is career .288 on the road, .308 at home.
One thing that could come into play is the number of left-handed starters the Yankees see. Ellsbury hit .246 against lefties in 2013. The Yankees struggled against left-handed pitching in 2013 and teams don't like to start righties at Yankee Stadium, but the Yankees actually only faced one more lefty starter than the Red Sox (55 versus 54). The over/under seems about right. I'll go with the under, however.
Home runs: 15 1/2
In the four full seasons that Ellsbury has played he's hit 9, 8, 32 and 9 home runs. The question isn't really whether he'll reach 30 home runs again -- that seems like a clear aberration -- but how much moving to Yankee Stadium with its short right-field porch will help his power game.
Here's an overlay of Fenway Park and Yankee Stadium. Ellsbury did pull all nine of his home runs in 2013; but he didn't really pull the ball that often. Most of his fly balls went to left field and center field and looking at his hit chart I see maybe four fly balls that may have cleared the fences at Yankee Stadium. So unless he alters his approach a bit, which is possible, I'd probably take the under.
Stolen bases: 39 1/2
Ellsbury had one of the great stolen base seasons in history percentage-wise in 2013, becoming just the fifth player to steal at least 50 bases while getting caught five or fewer times.
He stole 52 bases while playing 134 games and has swiped as many as 70, although that came in 2009. Where he hits in the order could factor into how often he steals. I would assume he'd hit leadoff with Derek Jeter batting second, although you could argue that, at least against right-handers, Joe Girardi should hit Brett Gardner and Ellsbury 1-2 with Jeter sliding down.
Still, I'll take the over.
Games played: 129 1/2
Even when he was relatively healthy last season, Ellsbury played in just 134 games. He played in 74 in 2012 and missed nearly all of 2010.
This is the big wild card, of course. The Yankees are betting on good health. I will, too, at least in the first season. I'll take the over.
How will Jacoby Ellsbury do with the Yankees in 2014? Let's play a little over/under with odds from Bovada.lv.Batting average: .299Ellsbury hit .298 in 2013 and is a career .