I grudgingly accepted AJ Ellis as the Dodgers catcher this year. I hoped that he could hit .240 but thought that was highly optimistic. I was not a true believer in AJ Ellis. I was stupid!
In 2004, even though he was 23, he was the backup catcher at Vero Beach (A-Ball), and the starting catcher was 21. That catcher was one Russell Martin who went on to become the Rookie of the Year in 2006 and an All-Star for the next two years. However in 2009, Russell Martin started an inexplicable decent into the abyss of hitting, and in consecutive years hit .250, .248, , 237 and finally is hitting .195 this season.
My, how the mighty have fallen! AJ Ellis Kept on playing… and learning. That part is obvious. AJ Ellis got a little better every year. He started in the Sally league where he failed to get a hit in 7 AB’s in 2003. In 2004, he hit .219 at Vero Beach. The next year he only played 57 games and hit .256 at Vero. In 2006, he moved to AA Jacksonville and hit.250, so he was back again in 2007 and he hit .269. In 2008 and 2009, he hit .321 and .314 in the PCL and was back there in 2010 where he only hit .262. In 2011, he hit .304 with a .467 OB%, but in 9 minor league seasons he only hit 19 HR in 2119 AB’s. That’s a HR every 112 AB’s!
He had a cup of coffee in every year since 2008 with the Dodgers. In 4 years he accumulated a little over 40o Ab’s. So, when it became apparent that he would become the starting catcher this season, I YAWNED! After all, he was 31 and obviously a career backup. Here’s the deal: we don’t all learn the same way or at the same rate. However, AJ Ellis has learned. Has he ever? I like to think it’s not how you start out – it’s how you end up.
AJ Ellis is hitting .281 with a .384 OB% and hs 11 HR in 349 AB’s. That’s a HR every 31 AB’s compared to a HR every 112 AB’s in the minors. He is also throwing out over 36% of runners attempting to steal. AJ Ellis has learned. Boy, has he learned. If anyone ever says anything bad about AJ Ellis, I will personally hit them in the mouth.
After all, you could still have Russell Martin.
I am sorry for doubting you, AJ. Your work ethic is legendary and you are one of the genuine good guys. Good luck to you.
AJ Ellis hit another walkoff hit to win the game last night.
AJ Ellis is my favorite player because he Never, Never, Never Quit!
The Dodgers are unbowed and unbeaten in September. These may be Destiny’s Dodgers.