There is only six weeks left in the Major League Baseball season, and if the Red Sox’s Jacoby Ellsbury, Navajo and member of the Colorado River Indian Tribe, keeps playing the way he has all season he’s a serious contender for the American League most valuable player award.
This remarkable season for Ellsbury has seen him hit for a .315 average and swat 20 homeruns, with 31 stolen bases and 74 RBIs. He’s on pace for a 25-30 home-run/40 stolen-base season, astounding numbers for any professional ball player, especially one coming off an injury-riddled 2010 season which saw him miss most of the season. If he doesn’t lock down the MVP trophy (two players that pose the stiffest competition are on his own team—Adrian Gonzalez, who’s batting .350, and Dustin Pedroia), he’s got a good shot at winning the comeback player of the year award.
As of today, Ellsbury is ranked in the top ten in the American league in a slew of categories, including average, runs (85, second in the AL), hits (153, tied for third), doubles (31, tied for seventh), stolen bases (31, tied for fourth), multi-hit games (44, fourth) and average with runners in scoring position (.344, third). Ellsbury is also top ten in multi-hit games, three-plus hit games, and total bases. These are monstrous numbers for any player in any position, but what makes them even more remarkable is Ellsbury is a leadoff hitter, coming to the plate with empty bases much of the time, and he plays one of the most demanding positions in the sport, center field.
As impressive as the numbers are, teammates and fans are most blown away Ellsbury’s ability to come up big when it matters most. In an incredible week in early August, Ellsbury had not one but two game winning hits in a row against the Cleveland Indians. The first was a ninth-inning single against the Cleveland Indians that drove in the winning run. The very next night, Ellsbury was up with two outs in the ninth against Indians reliver Joe Smith, and he was having a miserable game, zero hits in four at bats. Down in the count 0-1, Ellsbury launched a ball 415 feet over the center field wall.
Regardless of what hardware he ends up with, Ellsbury is a major factor in the Red Sox World Series hopes, and one of the best players in the game right now, period. An MVP or comeback player of the year award would be nice, but not nearly as sweet as a World Series ring.
If the Sox make it that far, it’ll be thanks in part to Ellsbury’s incredible season. If they win, it won’t be surprising if Ellbsury is in contention for the World Series MVP award. He’ll likely be battling against those two pesky teammates of his, Adrian Gonzalez and Dustin Pedroia.