There is a classic Daffy Duck cartoon called "Duck Amuck" in which a certain wisecracking animator continually redraws the scenery, props and costumes around the hapless water fowl until he reaches the breaking point. This is pretty much what the baseball gods have done to us with respect to Jacoby Ellsbury over the last few years. Ells broke into the big leagues in 2007 while the Red Sox were cruising toward their second World Series in a four year span, and he hit an enticing .353/.394/.509 in 127 plate appearances. 2008 was his first full season and while he didn’t repeat those crazy ’07 numbers his .280/.336/.394 line was very good for a first year regular; he looked excellent in both left and center on defense as well. fWAR had him at 4.2 wins for that season, star-caliber production. His bat took another small step forward in 2009, but that cruel prankster with the pencil erased his glove and replaced it with an anvil, and his poor defensive metrics dragged his fWAR down to 2.4. In 2010, the center field background was swapped for the Green Monster of left just long enough for Adrian Beltre to give Ellsbury's rib cage the accordion treatment. He was never fully healthy again that year and he saw just 84 plate appearances.
Jacoby’s Projection Problem
Over The Monster | Feb 28