The A.J. Ellis All-Star campaign — taking it national

Diamondbacks at Dodgers, 7:10 p.m.
Kershaw CXXIV: Kershawpolitan
Dee Gordon, SS
Mark Ellis, 2B
Bobby Abreu, LF
Andre Ethier, RF
A.J. Ellis, C
James Loney, 1B
Adam Kennedy, 3B
Tony Gwynn Jr., CF
Clayton Kershaw, P

In a guest post for ESPN.com’s Sweet Spot blog, I press the case (begun here) for A.J. Ellis to be top of mind when it comes to this year’s All-Star voting. In fact, it’s not hard to argue that as we begin play tonight, Ellis has been the No. 1 catcher in baseball this year.

If you rumble in certain corners of the country or the Internet, you may have heard tales of A.J. Ellis Facts, which chronicles the exploits of the Los Angeles Dodgers’ first-time starting catcher as if he were an Avenger of some incredible ilk.

In reality, Ellis might not be a superhero, but he might just be the best pick for the National League All-Star team at catcher in 2012.

Ellis, who had only 141 career major-league plate appearances before turning 30 last year, has adapted a long-developed mastery of the strike zone in the minors into an earnest dose of offensive weaponhood in the big leagues, to the point where he is now third in the NL in on-base percentage (.462) behind David Wright and Joey Votto.

Additionally, despite managing only six home runs in more than 800 Pacific Coast League at-bats, Ellis has added enough pop to his game (five doubles, a triple and three home runs this season) that he is slugging .512 and has an OPS of .974, the latter figure tops among all major-league catchers. This despite playing two-thirds of his games this year in the relatively stifling hitting environments of Dodger Stadium and San Diego’s Petco Park. …

Read the entire post here.

Update: The Dodgers have placed Juan Uribe on the disabled list to deal with his lingering left wrist injury, and have purchased the contract of utilityman Elian Herrera from Triple-A Albuquerque.The 27-year-old has a .381 on-base percentage and .550 slugging percentage for the Isotopes this year, playing second base, third, shortstop and center field.

Los Angeles designated Trent Oeltjen for assignment to make room for Herrera on the 40-man roster.

 

  • Anonymous

    Glad I got my A.J. jersey ordered before there’s a run on them! So fun watching good guys like him flourish when given a shot.

    • Anonymous

      I’m going to have to cross out the 4 on my Mark Ellis Jersey and write in a 7.

      Do they even have Mark Ellis jerseys?  

  • http://underdog.typepad.com/ underdog

    For however much they miss him, i’m glad Kemp is getting a rest tonight but still nervous about his MRI. Fingers crossed he’s only out a few. I stand by my prediction that Van Slyke starts tomorrow (either at 1st or LF).   Tonight’s lineup works okay except Dee should be batting 1 spot lower. ;)

  • Anonymous
  • http://underdog.typepad.com/ underdog

    I don’t want to jinx anything but sign me up for the AJ for AS campaign. I was tweeting about that yesterday. Pretty remarkable what he’s done so far. 

  • Anonymous

    The numbers don’t lie.

  • Anonymous

    and now he gets a promotion to the number 5 slot!!

  • http://www.dodgerthoughts.com/ Jon Weisman

    Torii Hunter put on restricted list by Angels following son’s arrest http://deadsp.in/J5id98 http://bit.ly/MdAcLx

  • http://www.dodgerthoughts.com/ Jon Weisman

    Rafael Furcal is scorching hot for the Cardinals  http://bit.ly/J5ipFh

  • Anonymous

    In St. Louis, Matt Holliday just made a playoff quality defensive play if you know what I mean, and I think you do.

    • Anonymous

      It’s not like he blew a playoff game with this boner.  And I’m not speaking metaphorically whatsoever.

      • Anonymous

        True, but his playoff performance will always be a fond memory.

  • Anonymous

    I’m surprised Gwynn isn’t leading off.  It looks like he’s going to be in the lineup for a few days (deservedly so).  Why not usher Dee down the the 8th spot now while there’s a plausible alternative at leadoff?

    • Anonymous

      Good point

    • bcmaiden

      Agree totally. I like Dee a lot but he needs a little more seasoning. He swings at EVERY thing, he’s an easy out, he still makes too many errors, and he really is a detriment in the leadoff spot. Can you imagine how many more RBI’s Matty & Eman would have with a legit OBP guy leading off. 

      • Anonymous

        What I have noticed is that pitchers pound the strike zone on him.  He seems to swings and misses, but usually at strikes.  Not sure fishing is his problem more than not being able to hit big league stuff.

        • bcmaiden

          Sorry, Bob, but Dee sees very few strikes and most of them aren’t even close. The kid swings at pitches in the dirt in and out, at high pitches in, over, and away, at pitches low inside, and pitches way off the outside edges. If he was disciplined he would have a ton of BB, at least until the pitchers adjust. 

          • Anonymous

            Yet, Dee doesn’t strike out at a higher rate than AJ Ellis, Mr. Discipline, for example.

          • bcmaiden

            Okay, so he puts the bat on some of those bad pitches and makes an out. He’s still an out machine.

  • Anonymous

    As we expected:

    DODGERS PLACE JUAN URIBE ON DISABLED LIST,PURCHASE THE CONTRACT OF ELIAN HERRERA FROM ALBUQUERQUE

    • Anonymous

      Understandable, though Oeltjen was immensely likeable. I hope he finds another spot, or even stays at ABQ.

      • http://underdog.typepad.com/ underdog

        Yeah, I honestly wouldn’t be surprised to see Trent clear waivers and be back in Albuquerque after all (unless he declines, which is his right). 

        • Anonymous

          I’d be surprised if he doesn’t clear waivers

      • Anonymous

        Of course he is likeable, he is Australian :)

    • bcmaiden

      Bad news because we most likely will be seeing more Kennedy. Donnie’s pattern has been to sit the kids and play the vets. Adam Kennedy looks done. The injury bug is raising it’s ugly head to our starting lineup. 

  • Anonymous

    Herrera replacing Uribe in the lineup too?

  • Anonymous

    Who is playing 3B tonight?

    • http://www.dodgerthoughts.com/ Jon Weisman

       Haven’t heard yet.

  • http://www.dodgerthoughts.com/ Jon Weisman

     A.J. Ellis: One of only three players to break the 20-second barrier in home-run trots Sunday. bit.ly/JCQwCm

  • http://www.dodgerthoughts.com/ Jon Weisman

    Adam Kennedy batting seventh, per Eric Stephen. 

  • Anonymous

    So right now, not counting pitchers, Uribe, Rivera, and Hairston are on the DL?

    • Anonymous

      Hairston is the only one of those three whose absence will be felt.  

      • http://underdog.typepad.com/ underdog

        Uribe’s actually been hitting well lately and his D is always solid. I would argue he’ll be missed, too, especially if we have to watch Kennedy start a bunch of games (yikes).  Though agree missing Hairston still hurts the worst. Hope Jerry is ready to come right off the DL when eligible. 

        • Anonymous

          When will Miles be ready to play?

          • http://underdog.typepad.com/ underdog

            Man, that really is a Hobson’s, er Sophie’s? choice…  But I’d take Miles over Kennedy (slightly; Aaron’s fielding range ain’t so great). Anyway, sounds like he needs a couple of weeks. 

          • Anonymous

            thanks

      • Anonymous

         Uribe is less useless than Kennedy, if only for his defense.

  • http://twitter.com/tqsundstrom Thomas Sundstrom

    Any idea what set/year you’d find A.J. Ellis rookie cards?

    • http://ajellisfacts.tumblr.com/ Justin Drummond

      I’m a serious baseball card nerd so I hope this information is helpful:

      A.J. Ellis has minor league team issued cards from 2004-2007 when he was with Vero Beach and Jacksonville.  They pop up on eBay from time to time, but they seem to be pretty hard to track down.

      Despite having appeared in five different major league season he still does not have a major league rookie card issued by Topps or Upper Deck (when they still were licensed to make them).  To me it’s a little bit of travesty because Tim Federowicz had all of 16 plate appearances with the Dodgers last September and his rookie cards can already be found in 2012 Topps Series 1 and 2012 Topps Heritage (don’t even get me started on Bryce Harper who Topps announced they would shoehorn into all of their remaining releases for this year on the day he debuted).Fortunately the Topps embargo on A.J. Ellis cards looks like it will end this October at the latest as he is scheduled to be included in 2012 Topps Update Series.  If he makes the All-Star team he’ll actually end up with two cards in the set as every All-Star traditionally has a subset card in Update as well.  I’m also holding out hope that he may appear in 2012 Topps Allen and Ginter scheduled to be released in July.  He is hot right now and there are still a few TBD slots on the preliminary checklist.

  • KT

    Today using my 5 e-mail addresses I have already voted AJ 125 times tomorrow I’ll probably vote him another 125 using my in-laws e-mails they are Arabic and don’t follow the MLB…I’ll get permission from others as I go along…I really think he should be in this years ASG
     
    I also voted those who are deserving this year…not names

  • Anonymous

    Mattingly started Adam Kennedy tonight in hopes of confusing Arizona starter Ian Kennedy into thinking that he was facing his own doppelganger.

    • Anonymous

      Our best chance to get rid of Kennedy is to play him. enough 0′fers will convince even Colletti that he is done. And playing he has a great opportunity to injure himself.

  • Anonymous

    In 50 words or less, could someone explain to the uneducated me what ‘designated for assignment’ really means and what Trent is likely going to do from this point on? Many thanks.

    • http://www.dodgerthoughts.com/ Jon Weisman
      • Anonymous

        Thanks for that, I hope he stays around

    • Anonymous

      As best I understand it, it means he’s been removed from the 40-man roster either with or eligible to be called up to the big club. He can opt to become a free agent, seeking work elsewhere, or he can re-sign with the Dodgers and stay at Albuquerque.

  • http://www.dodgerthoughts.com/ Jon Weisman

    T.J. Simers interview with new Dodgers owners goes about as you’d expect. lat.ms/Jrv2eZ

    • Anonymous

      Geez.

    • Anonymous

      Jon, what is the feeling you get from the majority of fans on the McCourt-Dodger parking lot connection? I get that it would be satisfying to see McCourt in the poor house but it seems like its getting to the point where the Times is really beating a dead horse here. Are people really this hung up on the whole situation? For me, it’s enough that McCourt no longer has the team and beyond that I couldn’t care less whether he makes another dime or another billion dollars. It isn’t like he’ll be the first crooked billonaire.

      • http://www.dodgerthoughts.com/ Jon Weisman

        I think there’s split opinion on this subject.  I think some people come from the same place as Simers, and some just want to move on. 

  • foul tip
    • Anonymous

      from your link:
      The 100-game suspension of Colorado Rockies catcher Eliezer Alfonzo for a second positive test, announced last Sept. 14, has been dropped because of the same procedural issues that came up in the Ryan Braun case. At the time the ban was announced, Alfonzo issued a statement saying he was surprised and had not taken any prohibited substances since 2008, when he served a 50-game ban while with San Francisco.Alfonzo was designated for assignment by the Rockies on May 7 and sent outright to Triple-A Colorado Springs in the Pacific Coast League two days later.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Terry-Pruett/1707390003 Terry Pruett

    Re: Simers: Why is the level of McCourt’s involvement in the parking lots so important? Why would I care? He does not own the Dodgers. He no longer has a stranglehold on Dodger payroll. He is gone. My feeling is this: the new Dodger owners owe the fans:
    1. Their best efforts to put a contender on the field every year, with a payroll commensurate with market size and attendance levels.
    2. An up-to-date, clean, and safe physical plant.
    3. A commitment to the long-term presence of the Dodgers in Los Angeles.

    And that’s it. Period. They DO NOT owe me “transparancy” on the details of their financial dealings with Frank McCourt. They DO NOT owe me details on the inner proportions of ownership. Other than points 1, 2, and 3 above…they owe me NOTHING.

    Regarding the fans lingering feelings about Frank McCourt: let it go…just let it go. Why dwell on an unpleasant past? Particularly when it did not DIRECTLY affect anything truly important to the living of your life. Let it go.

    • Anonymous

      no need to capitalize 

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Terry-Pruett/1707390003 Terry Pruett

        I thought there was a need…and that’s all that matters :)

  • KT

    Stadium is rather empty tonight

  • KT

    Way to start it off  Dee

    • KT

      1st to 3rd on the bad pickoff attempt…little further down the line and he scores

      Ellis then drives him home on the 4-3 ground out

  • Anonymous

    Way to go Ian Kennedy and Dee Gordon. I can’t forget M. Ellis too.

  • KT

    Much easier inning for the CLAW

  • KT

    NICE throw by Tony and Great tag by AJ!!!!

  • Anonymous

    Assists to TGJ and Matt Williams!

    • KT

      ^_^

  • KT

    Good eye clayton

  • Anonymous

    Kennedy walks Kershaw. Tough early season for the DBacks.

  • KT

    in hindsight wallach should have sent kershaw especially since the throw home hit the mound 

  • KT

    That wild pitch got AJ in the adam’s apple

  • KT

    Come on AJ start it off

  • KT

    good hit James

  • KT

    a whole lot of purpose pitches being thrown in this game

  • Anonymous

    Trivia question…in the middle of the brew ha ha…have we ever fielded an all left handed hitting lineup?

    • Anonymous

      A friend of mine once fielded an all-lefty slow pitch tournament team – throwing and batting – and called it “This Ain’t Right.” They won it all.

    • Anonymous

      You need to have switch-hitters to pull that off. There were two games in 1965 when the Dodgers started 8/9 lefty or switch-hitters. In one game, the player throwing it off was Dick Tracewski. In the other, it was Sandy Koufax, who batted right-handed despite pitching lefty. Although some would say that Koufax did not really do anything that was considered “batting.”

      • Anonymous

        I do recall seeing Sandy hit a homer off Warren Spahn in Milwaukee (on TV, not in person). His swing rather resembled Juan Uribe’s.

  • KT

    Come on Dp

  • KT

    that time loney’s decision leaves the faster of the two runners on and he steals second

  • Anonymous

    Loney was getting a little too cute there.

    • KT

      well upton started off slamming his bat into the ground and taking a circular route to 1st until someone from the dugout yelled at him

      And it did work last time

    • KT

      Also no harm no foul

  • KT

    DRE!!!!!

  • KT

    that ball hit middle of the rf pavilion and then hit the top of the chain link fence at the back of the seats almost going out into the parking lot

  • KT

    Nice AJ

  • KT

    Nice hit and run let’s AJ go from 1st to 3rd

    Good job James

  • KT

    Good Sac Adam…Nice hustle AJ

  • KT

    Nice play by the 1st baseman to take a hit away from Tony

  • Anonymous

    On 9/27/1968 against Atlanta righthander Ron Reed, the Dodgers started
    Willie Crawford, L
    Willie Davis, L
    Tom Haller, L
    Len Gabrielson, L
    Bill Sudakis, S
    Jim Lefebvre, S
    Wes Parker, S
    Paul Popovich, S
    Claude Osteen, L

    They won 5-2. 
    http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/ATL/ATL196809270.shtml

  • KT

    still looking for that DP

  • KT

    Clayton still hasn’t looked sharp this game…a lot of 3 ball counts

  • KT

    Nice play Mark

  • KT

    Josh has been a solid as he was earlier this year…still good though

  • KT

    way to track it down mark…one more josh

    • Anonymous

      Some nice D being played ay 2nd.

      • KT

        love his D…thought you were a no show tonight Bob…welcome

        • Anonymous

          In and out, watching the Lakers be dismantled.

  • KT

    Come on Bobby start it off

  • Anonymous

    A.J.Ellis had never started a ML game batting higher than 7th before this season. Now he has 1 at 6th and 1 at 5th.

  • Anonymous

    Nice recovery by Lindblom.

  • KT

    Good hit Dre

  • KT

    throw strikes Kenley

  • KT

    NICE catch James

  • Anonymous

    NCJ!

    • KT

      ^_^

  • KT

    FANTASTIC Catch By Sellers

  • Anonymous

    Wow, Justin!

  • Anonymous

    Big D returns to DS.

  • Christopher Staaf

    Sellers is a gamer! 

  • Anonymous

    We’ll be seeing Mr. Sellers on ESPN tomorrow, bank it!

  • Anonymous

    Sellers was on a suicide mission, and survived.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/QQIABMYD7DX4PHFZQTE5F22YC4 Josh Shoemaker

    Kemp to DL according to MLB tv

    • http://www.twitter.com/ElJefedor Jeffrey Thomas III

      Donnie just said they’re calling up Sands. Who by the way, has hit 3 home runs in two days.

    • KT

      And post game Dodgers Live and interview with Mattingly

    • http://underdog.typepad.com/ underdog

      Smart move, sad to see him sit but it’s the right move. We need him for the full season. And guess what, despite the media’s narrative about it, the Dodgers have basically gone 6-1 this week with Kemp hobbled or sidelined.  Glad to see Jerry heat up and come back. Good timing Sands!

  • http://underdog.typepad.com/ underdog

    Thanks to Chad for this .gif of Sellers’ catch in 9th:
    http://www.chadmoriyama.com/2012/05/gifcap-justin-sellers-sells-out-and-goes-flying-into-the-stands/

    Unappreciated story thus far is the Dodgers’ sparkling defense, which is about as good as they’ve had in past 15 years. Big reason why they’re winning.

    • Anonymous

       Why do I think Adam Kennedy would have failed to make that play?

      • http://underdog.typepad.com/ underdog

        Because he probably would have. ;) He’s decent defensively but at this point not as quick as Sellers.  Uribe might have made the play, but then would have broken his wrist.

        • Anonymous

          And he would have flattened that poor fan!

  • Anonymous

    C’mon Sands and make the most out of this opportunity…

  • Anonymous

    Another solid win

  • http://www.dodgerthoughts.com/ Jon Weisman

    NPUT