Jacoby Ellsbury has vaulted his status from high school standout, to MVP of a College World Series team, and now Red Sox center fielder of the future.
Ellsbury has the skill set to be an above-average major leaguer who is a ton of fun to watch. On top of his flashy defense, he could become part of the rare class of players who hit as many triples as home runs.
After putting up .303/.382/.425 vitals between High-A Wilmington and Double-A Portland last season, the 6-foot-1, 185-pound lefty could emerge in Beantown by mid-season.
Project Prospect founder Adam Foster sat down with Ellsbury at the tail end of the Arizona Fall League to talk about how he thinks Fenway will play with his offensive style, what he has learned about stealing bases as a professional, and team chemistry in the AFL.
Adam Foster: You went from the College World Series to the Red Sox, who sent you to the New York-Penn League, and now you’re in the Arizona Fall League after putting together a strong season in Double-A Portland. Have you had a chance to really soak everything in?
Jacoby Ellsbury: Not really. It has just pretty much been non-stop baseball since I was drafted. It will be nice to kind of have my first offseason. But I’ll probably take two weeks off and then training will start right back up. It’s pretty much a year-round sport now, but I’m definitely excited to be doing this.
Foster: Does it get you excited when you hear Red Sox fans talking about you as their center fielder of the future?
Ellsbury: Definitely. I’ve had the opportunity to watch a couple of games at Fenway and take batting practice there. The atmosphere is exciting and I think if you’re a competitive person, you’ll want to thrive in that atmosphere.
Foster: How do you think your plate approach will play to the Green Monster?
Ellsbury: I think the dimensions of the field will dictate my game, I guess you could say. You know, short porch to left and when I turn on one, there’s a lot of room out in right field to let me run around the bases. I think it should fit well for my style of play.
Foster: You’re a guy who blazes around the base paths. You actually had more triples than home runs last season.
Ellsbury: Oh! Did I?
Foster: Eight triples, seven home runs. Is that something that you take a little pride in, now that you’ve heard it?
Ellsbury: Definitely. If I hit a ball in the gap, from the get go, I’m looking three.
Foster: Also with your speed, you’ve been swiping a lot of bases in the minor leagues. Have you been working on any techniques in particular with the Red Sox? Do you feel like stealing bases is really something that you’ll be able to strive at in the major leagues?
Ellsbury: You know, I think in college, I just used my speed to swipe bags. But professionally, teams have a better understanding of how to control the run game. It’s the little things that I’m working on to get more efficient in stolen bags.
Foster: What kind of team chemistry can really be gathered in the Arizona Fall League when you have guys from five different teams playing on one?
Ellsbury: It’s fun to see guys from other teams. When you play them in the future you’ll know them. It will be nice to know someone across the diamond.
You can contact Adam Foster at email@example.com.