The Yankees have lost outfielders at an alarming pace this spring, which gave Jacoby Ellsbury a chance. Or at least it would have if he had not had a setback, which Yankees manager Aaron Boone announced today. Seems that Ellsbury hurt his hip while trying to come back from the oblique injury which caused him to go to the DL in the first pace.
Ellsbury lost the starting center field job to Aaron Hicks last season, but with Hicks, and his replacement, Billy McKinney, both going down to injury, Ellsbury stood to get some playing time and a chance to work more regularly into the Yankees’ outfield rotation if he had produced once he got it.
Ellsbury hit .264/.348/.402 with seven homers and 39 RBIs in 112 games last season. He’s guaranteed over $21 million a year for each of the next three seasons as part of a $153 million, seven-year contract he signed when he joined the Yankees before the 2014 season. There’s a $5 million buyout of his 2022 option.
This morning Major League Baseball announced a new elite league for high school baseball players who are likely to be drafted. It’s called the Prospect Development Pipeline League. It’ll start next summer and it’ll invite 80 of the best current high school juniors to play in a league in Florida from June through early July, culminating in an All-Star Game during MLB’s All-Star week.
The idea behind the league: to combat the current system in which a couple of pay-to-play, for-profit showcase leagues dominate the pre-draft season. Major League Baseball, schools and a lot of players’ parents have criticized this system because it favors rich kids who can afford to play in them. Major League Baseball is also likely quite keen on having greater control over the training, health and physical monitoring of prospects.
As Jeff Passan notes in his report about this, there will be a component of the program which involves live data-tracking of players during games and drills. Major League Baseball has become increasingly interested in such things but is limited in how much it can do in this regard due to labor agreements. There is no such impediment with high schoolers. Your mileage will vary when it comes to how you feel about that, I presume.