The last eight months or so have not been kind to Jacoby Ellsbury and Brett Gardner, insofar as fan sentiment is concerned. Ellsbury's struggles over the last calendar year are well-documented, and folk have grown tired of Gardner's annual second-half swoon. This is not to say that these gripes are unfounded or unwarranted - Ellsbury is still batting .239/.292/.361 (77 wRC+) over the last calendar year, and Gardner is still a career .236/.326/.351 (88 wRC+) hitter in the second-half. And this is not my attempt to have it both ways, or renege on the fact that I have picked on both players quite a bit of late (even saying that I would deal Ellsbury for Melvin Upton in the off-season ... though, when taking contracts into consideration, I stand by that).
Rather, this is to point out two simple facts that have gone semi-unnoticed: Ellsbury and Gardner are playing quite well right now, and the team has played better as a result (at least in part).Read More