Blog Entry

Would You Rather Have: Granderson or Ellsbury?

Posted on: January 27, 2012 11:11 am

By Matt Snyder

So here we are, the final entry in our series. For those who have enjoyed the series and taken part in the discussion, we thank you. For those who hate fun, remember to kick and scream about how it's absurd to "compare" the two when someone asks you if you would rather eat Mexican or Chinese food.

Anyway, we'll close the series with a meeting between MLB's two biggest rivals of the past decade. Maybe Rangers-Angels or something else supplants the Yankees-Red Sox intensity/hatred moving forward, but what we've seen in the recent past isn't paralleled.

So we'll check out the respective left-handed center fielders who each placed in the top four of AL MVP voting last season. Yes, it's Curtis Granderson vs. Jacoby Ellsbury.

The case for Granderson

Would You Rather Have
We've known Granderson could play for a while. Back in 2007, he had an insane stat-filling season, with 122 runs, 38 doubles, 23 triples, 23 homers and 26 stolen bases while hitting .302 with a .913 OPS. In 2009, however, his average dipped all the way down to .249 and, despite hitting 30 home runs, his inability to hit left-handers became a huge problem.

Now, we know that Granderson hit 41 homers last season while driving home 119 and scoring 136. But it's a myth that this power surge came from out of nowhere. He made major adjustments to his swing in August of 2010 and started the heavy hitting before that season ended. In the last 46 games of '10, Granderson hit 14 home runs, which prorates to a pace of 49 in a 162-game season.

In addition to that, he's cured his woes against lefties. In fact, Granderson hit for better rate stats against left-handers (.272/.347/.597) than against righties (.258/.372/.531) in 2011.

Also, if you wanna whine about Yankee Stadium being friendly to left-handed hitters -- which, yes, it is -- please at least note that Granderson hit 21 home runs at home and 20 on the road last year.

Finally, durability is in Granderson's favor. From 2006-11 he averaged 152 games per season while Ellsbury only played 18 games in all of 2010.

The case for Ellsbury

After a lost 2010 season, Ellsbury ended up being perhaps the best offensive player in the American League in 2011. He led the majors with 364 total bases while hitting .321/.376/.552 with 32 homers, 105 RBI, 119 runs, 46 doubles and 39 stolen bases. This guy was a fantasy baseball players' dream last season.

Similar to Granderson, Ellsbury has to fight the stigma that his power surge was either a fluke or "came from out of nowhere." With Ellsbury it pretty much did, though. He only hit 10 career home runs in 259 minor-league games. He entered 2011 with 20 home runs in 1,510 big-league plate appearances. The explanation is that Ellsbury's home runs per fly ball went all the way up to 16.7 percent. That's a large figure for a guy his size, but it's certainly possible he developed power while in the majors. He wouldn't be the first guy to do so.

Ellsbury also took home the Gold Glove in center, while most advanced defensive metrics scored him as one of the very best defensive players in baseball.

Age is in Ellsbury's favor, too, though it's not near as big a deal as one might think. Ellsbury turned 28 in September while Granderson will turn 31 in March. So it's a difference of 2 1/2 years.

Our call

I believe it comes down to if you believe Ellsbury's power in 2011 was real. He's superior everywhere else, but power was a huge reason Ellsbury had a far better WAR than Granderson in '11 and finished higher in MVP voting despite the Red Sox's collapse. Next year at this time it will be a much easier answer, but for now I'm rolling the dice and going Ellsbury.

Fan Vote:

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Since: Dec 25, 2011
Posted on: January 29, 2012 9:54 am

Would You Rather Have: Granderson or Ellsbury?

Granderson is one of if not the top feilder in the bigs....I dont think his power is legit outside of that little league that NYC calls a ball park.

Since: Jun 21, 2010
Posted on: January 29, 2012 9:35 am

Would You Rather Have: Granderson or Ellsbury?

Both are fine players, but come with some questions marks.  In Ellsbury, those 35 bombs came out of nowhere.  I do not know if he has it in him to do it again.  He has never hit home runs in the past, including the minors. Is he a " One Hit Wonder "?  What I like about Ellsbury is that he hits for average and does not strikeout very often.  Granderson at least gives me some history as to what to expect.  My concern with him is that he may fall in love with the homerun. Granderson put up powerhitter type numbers last season.  Except, he is not a power hitter.  Granderson already strikes out a lot, and if he goes to the plate looking to hit a homerun it will drive his K rate even higher.  As a result of the strikeouts, Granderson does not hit for a high average.  Both players will give you a stolen base threat.  While I am not a fan of either player, I would take Granderson only because I know more about what I am getting.

Since: Dec 14, 2011
Posted on: January 29, 2012 2:05 am
This comment has been removed.

Post Deleted by Administrator

Since: Aug 16, 2006
Posted on: January 29, 2012 1:32 am

Would You Rather Have: Granderson or Ellsbury?

Ellsbury is a cancer in the clubhouse.

Since: Dec 14, 2011
Posted on: January 29, 2012 1:21 am
This comment has been removed.

Post Deleted by Administrator

Since: Jul 21, 2007
Posted on: January 28, 2012 10:35 pm

Would You Rather Have: Granderson or Ellsbury?

Here's an odd perspective for you that I wish CBS would take into account. Which guy is a better teammate and man in the community? I know that Granderson has been big in both Detroit and New York with off-field outreach activities, and he's shown himself to be a class act before. I'd like to think that kind of attitude is a good thing for team chemistry. Course no, I didn't play baseball at higher levels so I can't really say for sure. Still, from a fan perspective I find it refreshing.

As for Ellsbury, I really don't know anything about him as a man, just the stats.

Since: Aug 19, 2006
Posted on: January 28, 2012 10:06 pm

Would You Rather Have: Granderson or Ellsbury?

I hate em both.

Id trade both of them for Matt Stairs.


Since: Sep 1, 2009
Posted on: January 28, 2012 9:33 pm

Would You Rather Have: Granderson or Ellsbury?

'Fenway Park dimensions
Left Field: 310 ft (94.5 m)
Deep Left-Center: 379 ft (115.5 m)
Center Field: 389 ft 9 in (118.8 m)
Deep Right-Center: 420 ft (128 m)
Right Center: 380 ft (115.8 m)
Right Field: 302 ft (92 m)'

This should also read 'Right Field Line'; the so-called Pesky Pole is short, but goes out very quickly and unless a hitter wraps one around the pole, the distance of any HR will be much greater than 302. Fenway is a much tougher home run park than Yankee Stadium for a left-hander who pulls the ball.

Since: Aug 16, 2006
Posted on: January 28, 2012 9:28 pm

Would You Rather Have: Granderson or Ellsbury?

you can't be serious? dude get off the drugs right now..... RIGHT NOW!
Sorry, bro, I agree with rip here and I'd take Ellsbury over Granderson.  Both parks are relatively the same.  Both are great for lefties and neither are pitcher's parks in the slightest.

Since: Sep 23, 2007
Posted on: January 28, 2012 9:27 pm

Would You Rather Have: Granderson or Ellsbury?

WAR...the greatest made-up,nonsense stat ever !!

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or