After a less than impressive showing Tuesday afternoon, I didn't have much interest in writing a piece that dwelled on the negative in the Yankees' 4-4 start to the 2014 season. Thoughts of Ivan Nova and Vidal Nuno dancing around in my head just didn't have much appeal. With Matthew having covered the luminescent Yangervis Solarte Tuesday afternoon, the other Yankees starter mashing the tar out of the ball left to cover was Jacoby Ellsbury. The jewel of the Yankees' off-season signing spree has done his best to ingratiate himself with Yankee fans wary of the long-time Red Sox standout with his play at the plate, in the field and on the bases.
Now it would be absurd to judge a seven-year deal (possibly eight) on what amounts to a miniscule sample size, but we have certainly been shown a glimpse of why the Yankees thought 150+ million dollars was not a completely insane investment for Ellsbury. He's triple-slashed .414/.469/.517 in his 32 plate appearances thus far resulting in a 172 wRC+. It only took a handful of games for Joe Girardi to be impressed enough to move him into the three-spot in the batting order in an effort to get him some more high-leverage at bats. He's also stolen four out of five bases and played his normal fine center field. It's hard not to get excited watching the guy, he just exudes talent when he's out there. He looks like the best player on the team, which is probably as it should be.
Aside from David Robertson, there was no other player I was rooting for to get off to a good start more than Ellsbury. The size and length of the contract was very much an issue of contention around these parts, and being the de facto replacement (at least yearly salary-wise) for Robinson Cano and a former Red Sox player to boot was not going to do him any favors with fans or the media. You get about two games to find success before Yankees fans say you're overpaid or not trying, so good on Jacoby for avoiding that contrived annoyance. It would be nice for Brian McCann and Carlos Beltran to follow suit relatively soon, or the pitchforks and torches will soon be at their doorstep.
Obviously, Ellsbury is not going to hit .400 the rest of the way (his .444 BABIP is more than 100 points better than last year), but even at his career average 110 wRC+ his defensive acumen would be enough to make him one of the better players in the league. The power has yet to surface, and it's hard to say if it will do so, even at Yankee Stadium, but singles and doubles should be plenty sufficient with Ellsbury's blazing speed. If he has the potential to crack double-digit home runs for a second time in his career, he's certainly in the right place to do it and would add even more to his value.
All in all, a very nice beginning to the Yankees career of Jacoby Ellsbury, if you don't include the team managing to spell his name wrong on the Stadium's big screen.