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Saturday, December 14, 2013

Noble: Jacoby Ellsbury’s biggest impact will come on defense

Noble: Hollow, sleepy analysis.

Some opposing player—some Markakis, Machado or Middlebrooks—will swing with a gapper in mind and begin what he senses will be a 60-yard sprint (with one left-hand turn involved) to scoring position. Only then will the change become evident to anyone who has witnessed the brilliance of Willie Mays, Paul Blair, Ken Berry, Devon White, Garry Maddox, Andrew Jones and precious few others. The gapper will be reduced from two bases to too bad and denied its place among the box score’s extra-base hits the following day. Jacoby Ellsbury will have run it down, extended his right arm, a Gold Glove attached to it, and earned a hunk of the fortune the Yankees are paying him.

The more subtle change will be this: The left-field and right-field foul lines at Yankee Stadium will have mysteriously moved closer together. The same phenomenon will occur in other ballparks whenever the Yankees invade.

The seeming shift of the chalk lines toward the center of the lawn will be largely the work of Ellsbury. Quality center fielders can have that impact; exceptional center fielders—and Jacoby is one—can cut off a few feet to their left and a few more on their right. And a center fielder flanked by Carlos Beltran and Brett Gardner can all but eliminate the term “gapper” from the glossary of his team’s defense.

Should the Yankees’ outfield alignment be what it seems likely to become—left to right: Gardner, Ellsbury and Beltran or, for that matter Gardner, Ellsbury and Cecil Fielder—the team may become defending champions of a different sort.

Repoz Posted: December 14, 2013 at 07:47 AM | 9 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: history, sabermetrics, yankees

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   1. Jim Wisinski Posted: December 14, 2013 at 11:33 AM (#4617907)
At least the article isn't over the top or excessive in its praise.
   2. SG Posted: December 14, 2013 at 11:41 AM (#4617911)
As good as Ellsbury may be at catching fly balls, he gives up a very significant part of that value with his noodle arm. Oh, and he's 30 and he's not likely to remain as good of a defender as he was.

So Noble probably needs to settle down a bit.
   3. AROM Posted: December 14, 2013 at 11:56 AM (#4617934)
And a center fielder flanked by Carlos Beltran and Brett Gardner can all but eliminate the term “gapper” from the glossary of his team’s defense.


I guess he covers this with his next line about Cecil Fielder, but it seems like the Yankees could get by with Gardner/Ellsbury covering most of the ground, and Beltran placing a rocking chair on the RF line.
   4. GregD Posted: December 14, 2013 at 12:03 PM (#4617936)
And possibly the recognition of the difference between 2013 Beltran in the field and 2006 Beltran in the field might lead a writer to wonder about long-term contracts based on defensive ability? Nah.
   5. Lance Reddick! Lance him! Posted: December 14, 2013 at 12:12 PM (#4617943)
Jacoby Ellsbury’s biggest impact will come on defense

Er...that's what Adrian Beltre said?
   6. Yastrzemski in left. Posted: December 14, 2013 at 04:49 PM (#4618098)
Except that Brett Gardner has about twice as much career dWAR.
   7. Fancy Pants Handle doesn't need no water Posted: December 14, 2013 at 05:18 PM (#4618103)
Except that Brett Gardner has about twice as much career dWAR.

Sure, Ellsbury is a good defender, not a great one. He is fast, which tends to make people think he is better than he is. But I also don't think the defensive numbers Gardner put up in 10/11 are sustainable, or necessarily accurate.
   8. SG Posted: December 14, 2013 at 06:54 PM (#4618126)
Except that Brett Gardner has about twice as much career dWAR.


Except that almost all of Gardner's dWAR came in LF and not CF. You can't just compare them like this with any validity.
   9. TVerik, the gum-snappin' hairdresser Posted: December 14, 2013 at 11:19 PM (#4618182)
Andrew?

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