Red Sox rookie OF Jacoby Ellsbury has the chance to extend his team's run of producing Rookie of the Year award winners. Just a year ago 2B Dustin Pedroia won the award and in 2006 P Jonathan Papelbon finished second.
Ellsbury has some tough competition this year and his month of June didn't help very many of his stats. As the All-Star break ends though look for him to make a run, literally, at breaking records and winning the ROTY award.
One of his many assets include his uncanny ability to run. Whether it's in the field or on the basepaths this guy can fly to wherever he's going. He's shown it this year with his American League leading 35 stolen bases, he also ranks second in MLB just four behind Willy Taveras of the Rockies.
His blistering pace (no pun intended) has opened the eyes of some Red Sox historians because Ellsbury is now only 20 stolen bases away from holding the team record that has stood for nearly four decades. Tommy Harper recorded 54 thefts in 1973 and his record is in jeopardy to a brilliant young star.
Barring injury or a huge slump Ellsbury has set himself up for a terrific shot at breaking this record and calling it his own in just his first full season. That's an amazing accomplishment, but don't expect that to be it for him.
He's going to be a real contender come ROTY voting. While his average may not be brillant at the moment (.269) it's due in large to his month of June as I mentioned before. He only hit .245 that month after hitting .282 in April, .281 in May, and .278 so far in July. So if he continues to hit in the .280 range his seasons average will start to reflect that. He'll also have a much easier time stealing bases when he's on base to begin with so expect both stats to rise.
He hits in the beginning of the lineup so he's rarely put in RBI situations so it should be no surprise that he only has 27 runs batted in with five homeruns. That might be an issue with fellow rookie Evan Longoria being on pace to knock in 100 RBIs.
Pedroia did win it last year with only 50 RBIs though so it may not be as crucial in the ROTY competition. Whether Ellsbury can bring in the honor or not it won't change much about the immense potential he has to be a star for years to come. Papelbon didn't win it in 2006 and that apparently didn't hinder his ability to be one of the best closers, if not the best in the league. Only time will tell what '08 has in store for Ellsbury, but right now the skys the limit.