Comparison for consideration

I was asked a question in a recent chat that got me to
thinking about the future value of a certain player. To frame the answer, here
are the season-to-date stats (thru and including Sunday night’s games) of three
speedy American League outfielders, including the player in question:

A   63  218  50  63   6   3   5   23   28   30   33   3   .289  .373 .413 .786  3.68   91.7   1.15   25
B   65  268  43  71   7   4   4   33   18   37   19   4   .265  .309 .366 .675  3.39   82.6   1.35   27
C   69  285  47  84  11  3   3   18   26   29   29   2   .295  .358 .386 .744  3.66   93.5   1.92   34

(G/A = ground outs to air outs ratio. Age as of July 1, 2008.)

see, Player A has the highest OBP and SLG, is a prolific and high-percentage
base-stealer, and is still the youngest of the three. He leads the trio in runs
scored, walks and steals despite having the fewest at-bats, the product of some
early-season job-sharing plus a couple of short-term injury absences. Plus, he
has the best batting eye and hits the most fly balls, perhaps indicating the
best possibility of a future power spike as he ages into his prime, and plays
for the best overall offensive team of the three. Naturally he’s the
first-round pick of the bunch, right?

sure you’ve guessed by now that Player A is Jacoby Ellsbury, and you can
probably tell that Player B is Carl Crawford and Player C is Ichiro Suzuki. Pretty heady company for a guy who hasn’t yet played 100 career games!

So, what did you pay for their production? Crawford
went in the first round in most drafts this season, usually between 10th and
12th overall, while Ichiro rarely lasted the second round and typically went
off the board between the 20th and 25th picks, with drafters opting for
Crawford’s power upside over Ichiro’s higher average and runs. Ellsbury went
exactly 136th in both my NFBC and 411 listener league drafts.

what have owners gotten for their money? NFBC ranks Ellsbury as the third most
valuable player in 5×5 mixed leagues so far this season, with Ichiro ranking 14th and
Crawford 42nd. ESPN has Ellsbury sixth, Ichiro a notch higher than NFBC at 13th, and
Crawford 51st.


let’s be fair about the two veterans… Ichiro is a career .331 hitter who has
never totaled fewer than 100 runs or 31 steals in a season, while Crawford is a
career .294 hitter who has averaged 12 homers and 54 steals over the past five
seasons. These guys are legit stars and worthy of high picks in any format.

Ellsbury, on the other hand, has played in fewer than 100 career games, still has some competition for playing time (although that is gradually
being rendered moot by his awesome performance this year) and has to prove he can maintain his health and production over a full season.

for now, Ellsbury’s present value clearly ranks among the elite, but his future
value is still somewhat unknown. Still, if he keeps up at his current pace,
he’s a borderline first round pick and a centerpiece offensive player with room
for more offensive growth. Congrats to those who have him cheap in keeper
leagues, the mancrush is well-founded!




I was lucky to get Ellsbury in all my leagues. I had a man crush since he helped me win a league last season. I just traded him in my main league for Magglio Ordonez since I am overloaded in steals. Good trade?

In a non-keeper league, Ellsbury for Magglio might be a little short since Ellsbury is dominating one category right now while Magglio has gone back to being a good-but-not-great power source. In a keeper league, of course this would be a non-starter.


If you have both Ellsbury and Crawford on one team, do you look to trade either of them? Like you stated, Ellsbury hasn’t played a full season and from what I have read Crawford’s knee might be a lingering injury throughout the season. Or should I just stick with both of them?

to add to my previous comment, do you think that Crawford’s power will return and possibly increase this season?

jon in hawaii

As you see above, Crawford is right in his prime, and has an excellent track record, so if his knee improves I expect the power will return as well. But with both of them, you have the flexibility to shop around and take the best offer for either depending on what best fits for your needs.

I was able to snag Ellsbury in my 12-team keeper league in a week two trade that also netted me Matt Cain in exchange for Wandy Rodriguez, John Rauch, and Nick Swisher.

I could not possibly be any happier with Ellsbury – he’s picked up the slack that my first-round pick (Crawford) has left and has kept my team close enough to the top – as long as he stays healthy, he’ll be an absolute steal as a keeper in the 12th round of next year’s draft.

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