Found November 08, 2012 on
After toiling in the minors for parts of nine seasons with just a couple cups of coffee to show for it, all the while watching the Dodgers treat the catcher position like it was wholly unimportant (trading Carlos Santana, allowing Joe Torre to run Russell Martin into the ground, and Rod Barajas not only being on the team but starting games as the primary backstop), A.J. Ellis finally got his shot in 2012 to be the man behind the dish.
Given the opportunity, he certainly did not disappoint, posting a 4.1 fWAR and putting forth the most productive season of any Dodger catcher since Martin’s 5.2 fWAR campaign back in 2008. In 133 games and just over 500 plate appearances, A.J. hit .270/.373/.414/.787 with a .341 wOBA. He walked in 13% of his plate appearances while whiffing just over 21% of the time, and he impressively clubbed 13 homers after never hitting more than eight in any professional season, including stops in minor-league launching pads like Albuquerque.
Two important notes though: first, Ellis did have a 12.5 % HR/FB mark, and I expect some regression in that area in 2013, probably between that mark and his 2011 mark of 8.3%. Second, A.J. did backslide with the bat in the second half (.285/.404/.425/.830 pre-break & .252/.336/.401/.737 post-break), which is not all that surprising for a guy in his first full season in the MLB who was never been known as a great hitter.
Generally speaking, defense is difficult to quantify when looking at advanced statistics, and it’s most difficult to quantify for catchers. FanGraphs had Ellis as a slight positive behind the dish, and if you go the route of more traditional numbers, A.J. caught 32.7% of would-be baserunners and allowed eleven passed balls. He struck me as a guy who calls a good game and has a good rapport with the staff, but it’s definitely his offensive production that makes him the best option in an organization and one of the best in the NL.
As he heads into his age-32 season — and in need of a new contract that will see him on the receiving end of a nice raise — if Ellis can improve a bit with the glove, continue to draw walks and get on-base, and keep the power anywhere within range of where it was in 2012, he will once again be a boon for the club.
He’s married to an attractive and talented woman and he told off T.J. Simers. So … win.
He hit .175/.281/.282/.563 with a .251 wOBA in 2012 (with a negative fWAR) and will be replaced in 2013 by Tim Federowicz.
Well … I hope.
Greg Zakwin is the founder of the site Plaschke Thy Sweater Is Argyle. Follow him on Twitter @ArgyledPlaschke.
BEST OF MAXIM
Clayton Kershaw is one of the three finalists for the National League Cy Young Award. He's competing against the Mets' R.A. Dickey and the Nationals' Gio Gonzalez.
Kershaw, the reigning winner, wasn't as good in 2012 as he was in 2011, but his 2011 was quite dominant.
Good money says Dickey will win, but Kershaw was the best pitcher in the NL this season...
INDIAN WELLS The Dodgers are probably unlikely to trade for a starting pitcher this winter and might have to address that need in the free-agent market, General Manager Ned Colletti said.
Collettis assessment was based on conversations he had with other teams at the general managers meetings, which started Wednesday.
Asked about what hes learned in the last 24 hours about the...
The Dodgers have won the rights to Korean lefty pitcher Hyun Jin Ryu with a bid of $25.7 million, according to Mike Petriello
Earlier today, I linked to a summary of thoughts on Hyun Jin Ryu, which ranged from perfering him as a reliever to comparisons to David Wells, though the latter was primarily on the basis of his body type.
A 25-year-old lefty and Tommy John survivor, the...
When the Dodgers acquired Adrian Gonzalez from the Boston Red Sox, I saw a plethora of Dodger fans begin to assert wild and crazy things. Not only were the Dodgers guaranteed of making the playoffs, but they were a lock to make the World Series on the back of a hero who was absolutely the right acquisition because of the dubious logic of him fitting in with the community...
LOS ANGELES -- Mark McGwire is back in Southern California, officially announced to the world Wednesday as the Dodgers' new hitting coach. He replaces Dave Hansen, who was removed from the position following the 2012 season, offered a new job with the team, then took the job as Seattle's hitting coach. All of that was pretty much known last week when the McGwire news first...
Hiroki Kuroda's major league career began with the Dodgers in 2008 at the spry old age of 33. He was nothing but good for the Dodgers (3.45 ERA, 1.19 WHIP, 11.9 fWAR) and had a solid season for the Yankees in 2012.
But the Dodgers should not and cannot sign him.
It's nothing personal with the guy. Hell, the Dodgers should not have let him walk after the 2011 season...
The Los Angeles Dodgers officially named Mark McGwire their hitting coach on Wednesday. General manager Ned Colletti announced that McGwire will replace the fired Dave Hansen. McGwire, a 12-time All-Star who set a major-league record for home runs in a season in 1998, served as the St. Louis Cardinals’ hitting coach for the past three seasons but made the move to the Dodgers...
He might not be the favorite, but Clayton Kershaw could yet win a second consecutive National League Cy Young Award.
Kershaw was one of three NL finalists announced Wednesday by the Baseball Writers Assn. of America on the MLB Network, along with the Mets R.A. Dickey and the Nationals Gio Gonzalez.
Kershaw might not have had the jaw-dropping numbers of last season when he won the...
LOSANGELES The Los Angeles Dodgers Wednesday named Mark McGwire as their hitting coach. The announcement was made byGeneral Manager Ned Colletti.
Markhas been able to translate his success as a big league hitter into his work ********* coach with the Cardinals, Colletti said. He earned the respect ofboth veterans and young players while in St. Louis and the offensive numbersthe...
In a move to bolster the Los Angeles Dodgers' underachieving bats, the team today named Mark McGwire as their hitting coach.
“Mark has been able to translate his success as a big league hitter into his work as hitting coach with the Cardinals,” GM Ned Colletti said. “He earned the respect of both veterans and young players while in St. Louis and the offensive numbers...
Mark McGwire was hired Wednesday as hitting coach for the Los Angeles Dodgers, where he'll work with All-Star sluggers Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier.
McGwire spent the past three seasons in the same job with the St. Louis Cardinals, where he starred during parts of his 16-year major league career. During McGwire's tenure, the Cardinals led the National League in batting average...
Free agent pitcher Todd Coffey deleted his Twitter account because Barack Obama won the election last night.
Bye Todd!! RT @toddcoffey60: I'm out I'll be back on twitter in 4 years if we can...
Full story at Bob's Blitz ~ http://www.bobsblitz.com
The LA Dodgers have hired their fourth hitting coach since 2008 but this one has ties to the LA area and a Hall of Fame pedigree if you can ignore a past scandal. The Dodgers have announced the hiring of Mark McGwire who served as the St. Louis Cardinals hitting coach last season. McGwire, a [...]
The Los Angeles Dodgers are interested in just about every free agent this offseason, as they have bags of cash stacked up waiting to be spent. The latest name to surface is Anibal Sanchez, Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com reports.
The Dodgers have been linked to Zack Greinke and Hiroki Kuroda, as they look to probably add one free agent arm to the mix of Aaron Harang, Chris Capuano, Josh...
True Blue LA: Eric Stephen looks at the available free agent starting pitchers and concludes that it’s Zack Greinke or bust.
When it comes down to it, if the Dodgers are hellbent on adding a starting pitcher they should only add a difference-maker. Dempster is a fall back, while Sanchez (money) and Kuroda (draft pick, age) seem overly expensive and not without significant risk...