After becoming the first Red Sox player to join the 30/30 club by hitting 30 home runs and stealing 30 bases, Ellsbury will likely be playing this year with a chip on his shoulder.
He finished second in MVP voting to Justin Verlander, so it stands to reason he might have his sights set even higher in 2012 to get himself over the edge and claim that hardware.
Last year’s 32 home runs and 39 stolen bases led the Red Sox in both categories, and when healthy Ellsbury has never stolen fewer than those 39 bags in a full season. The career high in homers, however, may be where the biggest challenge awaits Ells in his efforts to repeat as a 30/30 player.
Coming into last year, few could have foreseen the power surge the Red Sox centerfielder had in store. His previous high for home runs in a year was nine, and he was coming off an injury-plagued 2010 in which he only managed to play 18 games. After a breakout campaign, will Ellsbury be able to follow it up wth similar numbers again? Or is he in for a regression now that pitchers know he might have a little extra pop in his bat?
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