FanPost

Life Without Ellsbury?

Have we seen the last of Jacoby Ellsbury in a Red Sox uniform? Gordon Edes thinks it's possible. He has tweeted the following today:

15m

Alarming news re Ellsbury : Farrell said foot injury is more than day to day thing Going to Denver for 2d opinion

14m

Injury involves navicular bone same one broken by Pedroia and Varitek in past

12m

Farrell said MRI given; more tests to come

So what would the rest of the season look like without Jacoby in center? First off, we'll be seeing Jackie Bradley Jr. on the field regularly, and even the most optimistic prospect fan would have to admit to that being a significant downgrade.

I'm not a huge fan of fWAR in single season samples because of the shortcomings of UZR. It needs three seasons to stabilize, so trusting it as a component of a total value metric in 1/3 of that time is dangerous. That said, Ellsbury is 12th in fWAR this year with only 1 of his 5.6 coming from his defense. I'm not sure how accurate fangraphs' base running metric is, but as the major league leader in steals, it's safe to say that Ellsbury brings a ton of value on the bases and Bradley isn't going to come close to touching that.

Defensively, Bradley can probably equal or maybe even exceed Ellsbury. He's a truly special defensive player and may be the best defensive player in the organization. Only Pedroia has good argument against him.

So Bradley is off to a rough start before we even get to the bats. Ellsbury has managed a 111 wRC+ so far this season. Bradley put up a 57 in his limited time earlier in the year, but has a 137 in Pawtucket. His offensive contributions are very OBP heavy, as highlighted by his .374 OBP in Pawtucket and .381 wOBA.

He's better at getting on base than Jacoby, but he doesn't have nearly the same pop. And considering Ellsbury has below average pop, that's a pretty hefty statement. Ellsbury ranked 15th out of 20 qualified center fielders in home runs, and 16th out of 20 in ISO. Even if Bradley shakes his early season struggles and performs as expected, he'll come up short of Ellsbury at the plate.

Any way you slice it, losing Ellsbury for the rest of the season would be a big blow to this team. With him, they are possibly the favorites in the AL. Without him, I'm not sure where they fall, but it's probably short of that.

At the very least, we're looking at a shake up of the lineup. The team isn't likely to trust Bradley at the top of the order, at least not at first. So perhaps something like Victorino, Nava, Pedroia, Ortiz, Napoli, Salty, Drew, Middlebrooks, Bradley will be what Farrell settles on.

We're all hoping for good news about Jacoby's foot, but it's not looking so good right now.

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