The Boston Red Sox will once again be surrounded by controversy heading into the upcoming 2013 MLB season. The team fired former manager Bobby Valentine, hired new manager John Farrell, and now has several big question marks throughout their roster.
One of those question marks is center fielder, Jacoby Ellsbury.
Ellsbury agreed to a deal last Friday to avoid an eventual arbitration with the team. The contract was a one-year deal worth $9 million and will at least keeper the speedster in Beantown for one more season. However, it is still unsure which player they will be retaining.
Ellsbury has had a problems with injuries in his past and missed 88 games last year with a devastating shoulder injury. He simply did not look the same player after. In 74 games last year, Ellsbury was only able to hit four home runs and steal 14 bases in an all-around disappointing fantasy baseball season.
This is also coming after a 2010 season in which Ellsbury only managed to play in 18 games with a lingering rib injury. Two injury-prone seasons in the last three years certainly qualifies this outfielder as an injury risk.
Ellsbury has yet to show the amazing power that he boasted during his 2011 campaign. In 158 games that year, he crushed 32 homers, drove in 105 runs, and amazingly stole 39 bases. It was easily the best fantasy season of Ellsbury’s career, but it has unfortunately left the fantasy world with very high expectations of him.
The 29-year-old still has dynamic speed on the bases, and has stolen 189 bases in his first 581 major league games. His ability to steal bases can carry fantasy owners, so he is always a player to keep an eye on once he gets to first base. If he can stay healthy, Ellsbury can easily steal over 30 bases this year.
Ellsbury is also one of the best contact hitters in baseball. He is one of the toughest batters to strikeout in baseball, which is evident by the fact that he has only struck out 319 times in 581 career games. Ellsbury always gets wood on the ball, which makes him a threat to hit .300 every year. He has gone over the .300 mark in three of his six professional seasons, so he unquestionably has the potential to have an amazing season with the bat in 2013.
The Sox center fielder will be a great second outfielder to target in fantasy drafts this spring. Don’t overlook Ellsbury just because his 2012 season was plagued with injuries. He will once again become an elite fantasy option and will be worth drafting inside the top six rounds.