Sunday, January 22, 2017


Source: Rich Schultz/Getty Images North America

I came across an interesting read this week via The Daily News and I'm engaged and cautiously excited that we could get more production from Jacoby Ellsbury this season.  "We looked at all the video from his really big year in Boston, and his contact point was probably 3-4 inches more," (Yankee hitting coach Alan) Cockrell said. "So we tailored his cage routine and his maintenance work, and tailored it to where we're moving contact not a lot, not a foot, not a foot-and-a-half, but just 3-4 inches more in front of his body."

Source: Jim McIsaac/Getty Images North America

3-4 inches doesn't seem like much but to a hitter, it could be miles, much like 3-4 seconds or 3-4 minutes could be for a runner.  What does it take to teach a veteran hitter like Ellsbury, who is 33, to make a change in his form that could pay high dividends?   According to The Collegiate Baseball Newspaper, "You have to teach your hitters good mechanics, identify what pitch each guy hits the best, where that pitch needs to be in the strike zone, and work a plan to get into hitter’s counts." But this takes time and research and a change in the hitter's form. Much like a swimmer or a runner who needs to change his/her form in order to move faster or move without injury, you have to create good muscle memory and this takes time.

Source: Mike Carlson/Getty Images North America

According to Cockrell and The News, "We talked about it at times last year," he said. "But it's one of those mid-season things where it feels awkward and it's tough to go out and play every night and think about something like that, so this is something that we'll talk about in spring training."

Source: Ed Zurga/Getty Images North America

So if Ellsbury did some work during the off season and if the cage routines are regimented to include these shifts in form necessary to give him the opportunity to hit his "sweet spot" then we could see some quality hitting from our center fielder.

Source: Rich Schultz/Getty Images North America

According to the News Ellsbury, "has not lived up to expectations since signing a seven-year, $153 million deal in 2014. In his first three seasons with the Yankees, he's produced an underwhelming .264/.326/.382 batting line. Manager Joe Girardi has broached the idea of possibly separating Brett Gardner and Ellsbury at the top of the batting order, GM Brian Cashman said."

Source: Rich Schultz/Getty Images North America

Lots of possibilities but at the end of the day, it is about outcomes and that's what we need to see in a guy like Ells who needs to perform at his best every night.  Sure, we all have bad days and bad weeks, but we need more from Jacoby on a consistent basis and what better time than right now.

--Suzie Pinstripe
BYB Managing Editor
Twitter: @suzieprof

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