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Daily Dodger in review: How much can the Dodgers depend on A.J. Ellis?

A.J. ELLIS, 29, catcher.

Final 2010 stats: .278 batting average, no home runs, 16 RBI, .363 on-base percentage, .324 slugging percentage in 108 at-bats.

Contract status: under team control.

The good: solid behind the plate and very good handling the pitching staff. Excellent guy in the clubhouse. Not afraid to draw a walk. Finished with a flurry, hitting .417 in his final 16 games.

The bad: Prior to September, was batting an empty .208. Looked too much like someone being forced to fill in while Brad Ausmus, and then Russell Martin, were injured. Is a big guy with zero power. Will turn 30 the first week of the season, so it’s hard to count on some giant, untapped upside.

What’s next: Right now, he figures to return next season, if only as a backup. His exact role will depend on whether the Dodgers decide to bring back Martin and/or Rod Barajas or go outside the organization.

The take: Joe Torre didn’t do Ellis any favors early, barely playing him as he continually trotted out Martin. He had no chance of getting into a rhythm, but by the time he was called up a third time in September, he acted like someone who belonged.

It could be dangerous to put too much faith in a great final month, but the Dodgers seem comfortable with Ellis behind the plate. He’s never going to be the next Johnny Bench, but if he can even approach his September numbers over the long haul, then the Dodgers have a very usable commodity in a baseball-wide thin position.

His best scenario could be splitting time with the 35-year-old Barajas. The Dodgers have to be curious what he could do with consistent playing time, but given their dearth of power at so many positions, being the everyday catcher seems out of reach.

-- Steve Dilbeck

Comments () | Archives (11)

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On a team with a worthless owner and a clueless GM, the team is destined to have nothing but back-up catchers as their everydays - Ellis & Barajas. Even their top catching prospect (Matt Wallach) they project to be nothing more than a back-up. Sadly though, even a platoon of Ellis and Barajas figures to provide more than Martin would.
I'm starting to smell something musty - I believe it's the cellar.

Labeldude is right on all points. Ellis is a backup catcher, nothing more.

I'd keep him.

Wow since when has Matt Wallach been ever been their top catching process. Really come on at least know the prospects. The only problem with Ellis has always been his bat his defensive skills have never been a question. He showed that he might be a able to hit. Let us remember Barajas was a starting catcher and owns a world series ring. Ellis and Barajas will be able to handle the job. Id be more worried about the bullpen

realistic - better let DeJon Watson know that Wallach's not a top prospect so he doesn't take up space in the AFL with our other top prospects. (Though I do realize that "top prospect" to the Dodgers doesn't mean what it does to the other 29 teams.)

Well, since there's no guarantee that Martin will even be able to catch again because of the hip thing, I think a Barajas/Ellis platoon will do just fine. The Dodgers have at least two more problems to worry about--another good starting pitcher (or two) and a left fielder. However, with the money situation being what it is, I doubt they'll be able to do much of anything to solve them.

'The Price Is Right' for Ellis.

Ellis earns the MLB minimum and is a competent back up.

A McCourt dream player ...

Ellis is rock solid. The three tools he does have are way above par and more than make up for his lack of speed and power. Barajas has plenty of power for the both of them. If they combined for 550ABs you could pencil in .270BA, .370OBP, 20plusHRS and 80plusRBIs. Pretty good production for the bottom of the line up. Ellis is a great Backstop! Barajas may not have the cannon he had in AZ but it is still above avg, don't have an opinion on his game calling, haven't seen him enough but he defintely has a good repore with pitchers ingame on the mound. Don't see an impact RHB in the Dodger budget so think it's time to call up what we have on the farm and see what we really do have. Paul in left, DeJesus and maybe Gordon all over the infield. Mitchell some time at 3rd. If Kemp has an 08 type year we'll win more than we lose. If he doesn't the kids and the pen will decide the season. Catcher is the least of Dodger worries.

To me this is a dilemma. Choosing two catchers out of three. I think most Dodger fans including myself would like to see the homegrowners make the squad but, in this case, with the Dodgers lacking in HR power I'd settle for Barajas as my starting catcher and wait and see how Russell looks when he gets back. It will be tough making Martin a backup but if he continues to show poor offense especially with so little pop, I think he should battle it out with Ellis for second stringer. Anything can happen in spring training though.

Labeldude...I mean it depends on what your definition of prospect..russ mitchell wasnt really a prospect and he was playing in the AFL last year. Wallach has been an organizational type guy who has a one big year. Miller is pitching for the AFL and he isnt exactly what you call a prospect. I even think Mier played in the AFL last year. I guess what I am trying to say his year may have solified him as a prospect but by far no where close to a top prospect

I'll take Ellis over Martin all-day. Martin has steadily regressed and looks at too many good pitches- seems caught-up in the Hollywood scene and needs to be dumped, especially after this injury. The Dodgers have given Martin more than enough time to improve but he has failed miserably.

Barajas- starter, AJ- back-up

And can we redo-that horrible Casey Blake trade and bring back Carlos Santana?


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