Thursday, March 10, 2011
30 A's in 30 Days: Mark Ellis
Acquired: Traded as part of a three-team trade (including Tampa Bay (Devil) Rays) by the Kansas City Royals (January 8, 2001).
Contract: Signed through 2011.
Position: Starting second baseman; Supreme Court Justice-level of incumbency.
2011 Projected BA/OBP/SLG: .263/.331/.379
2010 Season: Ellis was gracious enough to get his annual injury out of the way early, missing about four weeks over April and May (hamstring). Beyond that, he enjoyed a solid little bounce back season at the plate – placing in the top half of AL second baseman with a .739 OPS. It didn't hurt that Ellis hit .405/.453/.534 in September. He's lost a step or two from his really-should've-won-a-Gold Glove defensive peak, but Ellis is still as dependable as they come. If his overall game was a Simpsons reference, it'd be Johnny Unitas' haircut. If it were a pro wrestler, it'd be 1993 Bob Backlund.
2011 Over/Under: Entering the last month of the 2010 season, Ellis was hitting .250/.324/.325 in 364 plate appearances. Every statistical tenet would tell us that the larger sample size – versus the 128 plate appearances he collected during last year's September to remember – is a better indicator of true talent level. Ellis was much luckier on BABIP in 2010 than he'd been from 2008-09, but with continued normalizing/volatility there and the erosion of his once-respectable extra base pop, I'm taking the slight UNDER. Not that there's anything wrong with the less-dependable, slightly unhinged 1994 Bob Backlund, y'all.
By the Numbers: 80, 77 -- The number of games played by Oakland's top second base prospect, Jemile Weeks, in each of the past two seasons. Since, Weeks can't stay healthy -- and minor-league infielder Adrian Cardenas hasn't hit a lick in more than 400 plate appearances at Triple-A -- Ellis won't have to look over his shoulder at any point this season.
Surefire 2011 Prediction: Last year, citing the struggles of the aforementioned prospects, I correctly predicted the A's would pick up Ellis' 2011 option. I'll stay with the easy calls by pointing out that Ellis has averaged just 115 games played over the past three years. He turns 34 in June and he'll hit the disabled list at least once before his birthday.
Old School Rap Track for the Season: Nitty Gritty, K.M.D. featuring Busta Rhymes, Lord Jamar and Sadat X