By Josh Kramer
I may just be imagining things, but it feels like this year, there are more MVP candidates than in a normal year. This could possibly be due to outstanding pitching and piss-pour hitting? Or it could be due to the fact that every strong team this year tends to have multiple guys experiencing career years? Whatever it is, even as we near the middle of August, predicting the MVP in the AL or NL seems to be near impossible. You may in all honesty have a better shot at winning the lottery.
There is one thing I can definitely be sure of though. Neither Adam Dunn nor Craig Counsell are in the running for the award. One player has really emerged over the past couple of weeks though. A guy who tends to live in the shadow of the other lethal bats in baseball’s best lineup. He is definitely not the first guy on anybody’s MVP list, but is definitely a player who has vaulted himself into consideration.
I am of course talking about none other than the Boston Red Sox centerfielder, Jacoby Ellsbury. Ellsbury is really only in his 3rd full season patrolling the outfield terrain in historic Fenway. But he plays like a guy who has been on the game’s biggest stage for well over decade now.
Yesterday, in typical Jacoby fashion, #2 for the Red Sox hit a three-run homer and plated a career high six runs for Boston as they continued to demonstrate their mastery of Yankee ace CC Sabathia. The amazing thing about Ellsbury is how many ways he can have a large effect on the outcome of the game. Sure Adrian Gonzalez has been the star for Boston this year. Everyone is also very familiar with the Laser Show (Pedroia), Big Papi (Ortiz), and Kevin Youkilis. But none of these guys have the ability to alter the outcome of a game in as many ways as speedy centerfielder, Jacoby Ellsbury.
Jacoby truly embodies what it means to be a 5-tool player. On the year, Ellsbury is hitting .321 (5th in the AL), has hit 19 home runs (13th in the AL, mind you he is a leadoff hitter), and has driven in 72 runs, which is good for 10th in the AL. And want to know the most scary part? These aren’t even the real key statistics for the Red Sox leadoff hitter. He also has put up a .377 on-base-percentage (11th in the AL), which is a key stat line for a leadoff hitter. Plus he is 4th in the AL with 31 stolen bases. Lastly, Ellsbury has been exceptional in centerfield this year. He has not made an error all year (hopefully I did not just jinx him).
So there you have it. Sure Gonzalez and Pedroia are definitely candidates for the MVP from Boston. But do not overlook Ellsbury. He is without question in my top 5 in the American League at this point. He has been the straw that stirs the drink in Boston.
Jacoby Ellsbury is without question an MVP candidate.
Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze.