Many of Major League Baseball’s best know that hard work and talent is what gets you to the top. Talent can get you a shot, but hard work is what keeps you there. Few know this like Los Angeles Dodgers’ catcher A.J. Ellis. He is an example of determination and dedication to the game of baseball and to life.
No one really knew much about Ellis until last year. He is the Austin Peay State University all-time hit leader, and he was taken by the Dodgers in the 18th Round of the 2003 MLB draft. Ellis started at the bottom and clawed his way to Triple-A ball in the next six years. His batting average steadily improved, as did his catching skills. He worked his way up through the Dodgers farm system and finally landed the starting catcher role last year.
2012 proved to be his breakout year. In 133 games, Ellis had a .270 BA, .373 OBP, .414 SLG, and.786 OPS; couple that with his 13 HR and 52 RBI. He was also productive behind the plate, with a fielding percentage of .995. His near perfect play was an inspiration to the Dodgers who gave him the Roy Campanella Award for the most spirited teammate.
What many don’t know about Ellis is his faith and family are major reasons he has gotten this far. He is a devoted husband and father. He also has a deep faith as a Christian and wrote the forward to Clayton Kershaw’s book Arise. It is this essential element that makes Ellis a class act on and off the field.
As solid as his play is, and as solid as his character is, there is no question Ellis will have another great year for the Dodgers. This could very well be the year he makes the All-Star team and the Dodgers win the National League Pennant. Don’t be shocked if it happens, because Ellis will push himself and his teammates to succeed.