Tuesday, January 24, 2017


(Sept. 9, 2016 - Source: Jim McIsaac/Getty Images North America)
I read Suzie Pinstripes' BYB piece entitled CAN ELLSBURY BRING 'BOSTON' BACK TO HIS GAME? with great interest this weekend, and I'm afraid like Ells himself it left me underwhelmed.

My colleague's story,  based on a  nugget in the NY Daily News by Mike Mazzeo quoting Yankees hitting coach Alan Cockrell, explained that the team had examined tape of Ells in 2011 -- his All-World outlier Boston season the year before the Yankees signed him  when he hit .321 with 32 homers and posted a .928 OPS over 158 games. 

The gist of Cockrell's comments was that the team had noted Ells' MLB record 12 catcher interference calls in 2016, a sign he had moved further back in the box, and so they  "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."

(Aug. 29, 2016 - Source: Ed Zurga/Getty Images North America)    
While Suzie appears to be "cautiously excited" that Ells may have taken the initiative to try and alter his hitting routine during the off-season, I'm not.

The NYDN piece quoted Cockrell saying that the aforementioned cage and maintenance routines were apparently rejected by Ells as "awkward" to implement  or "think about" during the season so "this is something we'll talk about in spring training." 

(June 15, 2016 - Source: Hannah Foslien/Getty Images North America)
That sounds like someone who thinks their status quo hitting is just fine and not worth messing with to me.  

Further, Bryan Hoch of MLB.com, who was also present for Cockrell's presser, points out that the Yankee hitting coach may be chasing a false image on Ellsbury's radar; explaining: "Catcher's interferences were part of Ellsbury's game in Boston as well -- he has 26 since 2007, the most by any Major Leaguer since Pete Rose (29)."

(Aug. 22, 2015 - Source: Al Bello/Getty Images North America)    
My take: Ells is what he is and there's little reason to believe he won't  continue on his current trajectory. I just hope B'wana Brian our big-game hunting GM continues on his and finds some way to move him.

 --Barry Millman
BYB Writer
Follow me on Twitter: @nyyankeefanfore

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