Ellsbury v. Choo, Reviewing the Available Data
Two of the best free agents available in this year’s hot stove are outfielders Jacoby Ellsbury and Shin-Soo Choo. Looking at their most recent three seasons will give us a pretty good idea of each players true skill set and performance.
From 2011-13 both Choo and Ellsbury hit a total of 45 home-runs. Their isolated power (~.160 ISO) and hits/ball in play (~33%) were both nearly identical. Choo had a grand total of 65 more plate appearances during the last three years.
The differences between the two players offensive performances are walks (big advantage Choo), contact rate (solid advantage Ellsbury) and speed (big advantage Ellsbury).
Looking at attributes outside of batting and base-running, Jacoby Ellsbury is 14 months younger than Choo and thanks to his wheels the former Boston Red Sox all-star has much better range in the outfield. Shin-Soo Choo possesses a better throwing arm.
That’s 3/4 of the story. Most of the other quarter is simply unknown to us foreign observers. Scouts, coaches, teammates and family members need to fill us in. Of course they tend to be subjective which is why we take their input with a grain of salt.
If we could measure this other 25% that would be terrific. Aside from in-depth scouting we can’t get too far past 90%.
So if you had $100,000,000 to throw around at an outfielder who do you got?