Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Jacoby Ellsbury Cares Not For Walks - And That's Bad

I'm glad Jacoby Ellsbury is hitting on a regular basis - I really am - but I get a little nervous when he lets loose with quotes like this one:
If you’re fast they’re not throwing you many balls. They don’t want you on the basepaths. As a fast player, as a leadoff guy, they’re not going to pitch around me. It makes it tough to walk. If you go up trying to walk you get down in the count. If the pitch is there you have to be swinging at it. You can’t be taking (good) pitches just to walk.
On the surface he's right, of course: if Mark Bellhorn is complimenting you on your ability to take pitches, you're going to be looking a strike three an awful lot, and that means you won't be on base to grab steals and score runs.  But Ellsbury is taking things too far: by taking the mindset that he can't wait for pitchers to miss, he's running against the philosophy that's made this team's offense so effective: the Sox take pitches.  They run deep counts and wear out pitchers.  They care so much about OBP that their broadcast network includes it in the onscreen stat line.  Having a lead off hitter who uses both his words and his actions - he's got 12 walks in 50 games - to speak to his ignorance of this philosophy is a problem.  Here's hoping he realizes how much of a problem soon.