Ellsbury brings proven postseason success to Yankees

New York expecting combination of power, speed from veteran outfielder
03/03/2014 11:21 AM ET
By Doug Williams

Background: Jacoby Ellsbury is a 30-year-old outfielder for the New York Yankees. Up until this offseason when he signed with New York, Ellsbury had played all seven seasons of his big-league career for the Boston Red Sox. In Boston, he won two World Championships and hit .297 with 241 total stolen bases.

2013 Season: Ellsbury had a pretty typical season in 2013. He missed some time because of an injury, but was very effective when healthy. He hit .298 and stole a league-leading 52 bases for the Red Sox. Despite the fact that Ellsbury missed almost thirty games, he was healthy when it counted and hit .344 in the postseason.

Greatest Strength: Ellsbury has a lot of strengths, but maybe the most important one to the Yankees was his experience in October. Ellsbury has 133 career at-bats in the postseason and has a combined .301 average. At 30-years-old, Ellsbury's speed will eventually decline as will his ability to cover ground in the outfield. But if he continues to be a quality hitter -- especially when it counts -- those things won't hurt his value nearly as much.

Greatest Weakness: Ellsbury's biggest weakness throughout his career has been staying healthy. He played just 18 games in 2010 and 74 games in 2012. In fact, he's really only played a true, full season twice in his seven-year career. He hit over .300 in both of those seasons, so the more Ellsbury is out on the field, the better.

Prediction: The contract the Yankees signed Ellsbury to -- 7 years, $153 million -- was criticized by many because of his age. While it's impossible to predict the kind of player he'll be at 37, Ellsbury is a very high quality player NOW. Expect a big year from Ellsbury: 50+ stolen bases and 15-20 home runs with the short porch in right at Yankee Stadium.

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