Is anyone else worried about Ellsbury as the Sox' lead-off hitter? In 670 career AB (including today's game), Jacoby's OBP is just .346. That's barely adequate for a tablesetter. Last year his OBP was a putrid .336
Many here at OTM have questioned the wisdom of hitting Ellsbury first. Speed doesn't matter if you can't get on base. But, it's more than that. Taco Boy just isn't a patient hitter. He doesn't work counts and, too often, he tries to hit the long ball. I'm beginning to think Ellsbury just doesn't get it. He doesn't understand his role on the team.
Today was a perfect example. While I won't fault Jacoby for being the only Boston player without a hit, three of his four at-bats were just plain awful. Here's what he did:
First inning: Strikeout (looking) - 5 pitches
Second inning: Groundout to 2B - 3 pitches
Fourth inning: Groundout to 2B - 3 pitches
Sixth inning: Groundout to 3B - 1 pitch
As far as seeing pitches, that's a pretty typical night for Ellsbury. In 2008, Jacoby was near the bottom of the AL in pitches per plate appearance. He averaged 3.59 P/PA, just ahead of Ichiro. Ellsbury was only slightly better than the famously impatient Robinson Cano (3.35 P/PA).
Ellsbury has value because of his speed and good defense. But I'm not sure he'll ever get on base well enough to be a top-of-the-order hitter. I hope I'm wrong.