Sunday, May 01, 2005

Nevermind what I said before

Jason Ellison needs to play everyday. Right now. No, don't wait to see if he can stay this hot playing part-time, and don't wait to see if Marquis Grissom is succumbing to age or not.

Play him now. He's is much, much too hot of a hitter to not play in an offense that needs as much help as it can get.

The platoon should not be Elly and Michael Tucker, as it's been a few times in the last week. It should not be Elly and anybody. Start him in centerfield everyday because he's smoking hot with the bat, and while he doesn't walk a whole lot, he's still lightning in a bottle at the leadoff spot. Let Ray Durham do what many of us have speculated about before -- hit him more in the middle of the order, from the #2 through #6 spot. He's got the offensive skills to do it.

Ellison reminds me of one guy out of the box on contact (and while running) -- Raul Mondesi. When Mondesi hit anything that either bounced or had the possibility of bouncing, he was moving. Fast. Hard. If you hesitated as an infielder or outfielder in scooping up the ball and getting it to where you needed it to be, you'd cost your team 90 feet because Mondesi would be running hard and fast, and he'd take that extra base. Ellison is the same way. As soon as that bat strikes the ball Elly's got his motor running and he's off and away. He's not out of the box as fast as someone like Ichiro!, mainly because Ichiro! cheats -- he's leaning into his sprint to 1st base as he's swinging the bat. Elly doesn't lean into his swing, but as soon as it is possible to run after his follow through (which seems a bit violent), he's off.

As impressed as I have been with Ellison, I'm not sitting here saying he's great, or even really good. But I am saying that he is better than Grissom right now, and that there's a decent chance he'll be better than Grissom for the rest of their careers. If Elly can cover a happy middle ground between Dave Roberts and Mark Kotsay, I'd think I'd take that.

UPDATE: Ellison only went 1 for 3 today, but threw in a couple of walks along with it. Amazing. I haven't mentioned much about Lance Niekro, but I'd like to tip my cap to him, as he's had about as much of an impact as he can in the limited playing time he's been given. Heck, even Moises Alou has messed around and played himself into a respectable .900 OPS after this weekend series against the Pirates.

While a sweep of the Pirates is right up there with a sweep against the Rockies (as in, don't get too excited), nevertheless the Giants are showing that they will probably not be a poor team, as each time they've played a poor team they've pretty much mopped the floor with them. Also, a sweep's a sweep, and five wins in a row is five wins in a row. And a horse is a horse of course of course.

Now it's another mini-test with three games against Arizona and the semi-surprising-ish Washington Nationals.

Go Giants!


Dan said...

"Now it's another mini-test with three games against Arizona and the semi-surprising-ish Washington Nationals."

Without Bonds and with the "younger" guys in the lineup, this whole time can be considered a test for the club, can it not? If not a test, than maybe a glimmer of the SF Giants A.B. (After Bonds)

Anonymous said...

And the great thing about young guys is.. they CAN get better. As opposed to merely hurting calves or knees or just declining slowly.

To me, it's a good and natural thing to play Ellison instead of Grissom, at least until he starts struggling. He can cover more in the OF and scores runs. That isn't an insignificant stat, no matter what his BA is.

I vote for more Niekro too. What if Bonds doesn't come back? They waited a long time for Nen and it never happened. So, it's not like there's a replacement for Bonds, but then again if the team plays better with a few kids in the field, that to me is a good thing. In addition, rather than Niekro and Ellison crushing AAA pitching, they can be learning from Snow and Grissom, respectively, when they're not playing.