The Jacoby Ellsbury Era

Dave Cameron, writing for FanGraphs on November 19th:

Over the weekend, I wrote a piece for ESPN Insider and FanGraphs+ based around the question of how players like Jacoby Ellsbury have aged previously. There’s a belief among some that speed-and-defense players like Ellsbury are bad bets after they turn 30, since a large chunk of their value is tied to what they can do with their legs, and speed peaks earlier than other skills. However, there’s also data that shows that faster players actually age better than most other player types. Instead of just trying to show you what the aging curves say, though, I figured showing how similar players to Ellsbury actually did might be more appealing.

When I saw the tweets last night about the Yankees signing Jacoby Ellsbury to a seven-year, $153 million dollar contract, I got the same nauseous feeling I always get when the Yankees pull a Yankees move. Soon, I'd have to defend against the chorus of too much money, too old of a player—typical Yankees.

And then Jonah Keri tweeted the above piece.

So get ready, Yankees fans, to reference it frequently, as the bullets have already begun to fly. And prepare to have to reference it in the face of those who don't buy into the advanced metrics it uses to make the point. And of course, nothing is certain. You can't predict injury and you can't predict the unknown.

But for the moment, take solace in the fact that three weeks before the signing, Cameron predicted almost the exact salary Ellsbury would garner in free agency. Let's hope that all of his other numbers work out as well.