clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

The up and down season of Jacoby Ellsbury continues

He got the biggest contract the Yankees handed out during the offseason, but Jacoby Ellsbury has struggled to find any semblance of consistency at the plate during his first year in pinstripes.

Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

During the offseason, the Yankees brought in Jacoby Ellsbury in part to replace some of the offensive production that they expected to lose if Robinson Cano ended up bolting from the Bronx.  While Cano did leave and has continued to produce in the Pacific Northwest, Ellsbury's 2014 campaign has been...okay.  He hasn't been massively productive, but he hasn't been awful either, and his play has neither validated his large contract nor made it seem like a complete waste.  For much of the season, Ellsbury has been quite inconsistent at the plate, scorching hot one month and tepid the next.  When coupled with all the other fluctuations the Yankees have had in their lineup this year, this has helped to make the 2014 Yankees one of New York's most aggressively mediocre offensive teams in recent memory (and after 2013, that's saying something).

Ellsbury's basically had two great months at the plate and two pretty terrible ones, with an average July thrown in between.  He got off to a terrific start in April, hitting .312 with a 126 wRC+, while collecting nine doubles, two triples, and swiping eight bases to help carry the Yankees to a 15-12 record. Then, Ellsbury's bat vanished.  He hit .231/.317/.327 in May, posting a 79 wRC+.  A month later though, he leapt off the struggle bus with authority, hitting .324/.390/.419 with a 129 wRC+ in June.  Then again in July, his production dropped, and while it wasn't quite to the extent of May's decline, he hit only .250 with a 102 wRC+.

After a fairly productive summer, though, Ellsbury has fallen into a rut again here in August, just when the Yankees needed him most.  So far this month, he's hitting just .257 for an 83 wRC+.  While slumps are just a part of baseball, it'd be nice to see a little more consistency from one of the Yankees' highest paid hitters, and probably one of their overall best players.

No one expected him to replicate his ridiculous 2011 numbers, but it would've been nice if Ellsbury could get a bit closer to last year's .298/.355/.426 triple slash and its relatively consistent level of production (he only had a monthly wRC+ lower than 100 once in 2013).  None of this is to say that Ellsbury has been awful this year - his 105 wRC+ is only slightly lower than his career average.  Still, his peaks haven't been quite as high as they have been in the past, and his slumps have been a bit worse and a bit more frequent than during his last season in Boston. But at least he's healthy. It's certainly been an up and down season for the Yankee center fielder, but hopefully he'll follow the trend and bounce back strong in September.

If he doesn't hit enough to keep the Yankees within striking distance, though, it might be too little, too late.