Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Meet the 2019 Yankees: Jacoby Ellsbury

Did I just save the best for last, or was the information harder to come by because no one has actually seen Jacoby Ellsbury on a baseball diamond in what feels like two-or-three years? You decide, I am just here to make the formal introductions. Jacoby Ellsbury everyone, in all of his glory.

Jacoby Ellsbury, 35-years old, is a center fielder in the New York Yankees organization. Ellsbury, 6’1” and 195 lbs., is a left-handed hitting and throwing outfielder and leadoff hitter, when he is on the field. Injuries have hampered much of his contract with the Yankees that runs through the 2020 season with a team option for the 2021 season. Ellsbury has the uppercut swing, speed, and defense to do well with the New York Yankees, especially inside Yankee Stadium, but his inability to stay healthy has left a bad taste in the mouths of many Yankees fans around the Yankee Universe.

Jacoby McCabe Ellsbury was born on September 11, 1983 in Madras, Oregon where he attended Madras High School. While at the school, Ellsbury lettered in five sports including baseball, basketball and football. Ellsbury was drafted by the Tampa Bay Devil Rays in the 23rd round of the 2002 MLB First Year Players Draft, but ultimately decided to head to Oregon State University to continue his amateur baseball career. After three years at Oregon State, Ellsbury was drafted by the Boston Red Sox in the first round, 23rd overall, of the 2005 MLB Draft.

Ellsbury did not spend long in the Red Sox minor league system, making his professional debut in July of 2015, and making the big-league club by June 30, 2007, replacing an injured Coco Crisp. Ellsbury was up and down for the Red Sox throughout the 2007 season but made his mark late in the season and into the playoffs, leading the Red Sox to a World Series championship. Ellsbury was on the Red Sox Opening Day roster in 2008 and never looked back, thus becoming a regular for the Red Sox in center field and at the top of the Boston lineup. Ellsbury remained an integral part of the team in center field until the 2010 season when he was bumped to left field after the team acquired Mike Cameron off the free agent market. Ellsbury would undergo many ups-and-downs and many injuries throughout his tenure with Boston but would win two World Series with the club including the 2013 season, the final year before he hit free agency.

In the winter before the 2014 season the New York Yankees signed Ellsbury to a seven-year deal worth $153 million including an option year for an eighth season that would bring the deal to $169 million. Ellsbury had a decent first season in the Bronx batting .271 with 16 home runs and 39 stolen bases in 149 games, but the 2015 season the injury bug crept back into Ellsbury’s career. Ellsbury missed nearly two months with a sprained knee in 2015 and did not start the 2015 American League Wild Card Game for the Yankees against the Houston Astros.

The 2016 season was the season of catcher’s interference for Ellsbury and the Yankees. Ellsbury played in 148 games in 2016 and compiled 12 catcher’s interference calls, breaking the record previously held by Roberto Kelly in a single-season. Ellsbury would set the career mark for catcher’s interference calls in 2017 with his 30th, passing Pete Rose, but would ultimately lose his starting center field job to Aaron Hicks after another set of injuries derailed his season. Ellsbury would miss the entire 2018 season due to injuries and will likely begin the 2019 season on the injured list as well.

Ellsbury is an enrolled member of the Colorado ricer Indian Tribes. Ellsbury’s mother, Margie Ellsbury, is full-blooded Navajo, while his father, Jim, is of English and German descent. Ellsbury is the first Native American of Navajo descent to reach the major leagues. Now, the only thing that’s left is for Ellsbury is to bounce back healthy in 2019 and lead the team to a World Series championship as the first ever Navajo Native American to win a World Series in the Bronx. Make it happen.

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