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Monday, April 27, 2009
Ellsbury running for record?

In the wake of Jacoby Ellsbury stealing home against the Yankees last night, Joe McDonald spoke to Tommy Harper:
Ellsbury may well break Harper's record, but it's by no means a fait accompli. Last year he stole 50 bases and finished with 609 plate appearances; that's roughly one steal for every dozen plate appearances. Figuring the same rate, Ellsbury would have to wind up with nearly 660 plate appearances this year.

At the moment, 660 looks like nothing. Ellsbury's played in every game and will, at his current pace, finish the season with 702 plate appearances. Of course, that does sort of assume that he'll be both healthy enough and good enough to play, though that latter part might be mostly irrelevant because, with the departure of Coco Crisp, the club's only decent alternative in center field is Rocco Baldelli (who's got his own issues).

In Terry Francona's five full seasons as Red Sox manager, his club has finished 11th, 13th, 14th, 7th, and 3rd in the American League in steals. Last year the Red Sox set a post-World War I team record with 120 steals. This year Ellsbury's got a great shot at setting an all-time Red Sox record. It's never been that Francona (and his bosses) didn't want to steal. It's simply been that until the last couple of seasons, they couldn't steal. Now they can.