Is Jacoby Ellsbury a top-10 fantasy option? 

July, 22, 2011
Trusted colleague Tristan H. Cockcroft and I had an interesting debate on Friday's Fantasy Focus 06010 podcast, as an emailer wanted to know whether Boston Red Sox outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury had impressed us enough to warrant top-10 overall status for 2012 drafts. Think about how far Ellsbury has come from back in March, when he was often described as either brittle or a one-trick fantasy pony, or perhaps both.

He enters this fine July weekend as fantasy's No. 3 overall player, a mere base hit behind No. 2 Jose Bautista and certainly within striking distance of top dawg Matt Kemp. We've been raving about Kemp and Bautista all year long, and here comes this stolen base champ, sneaking in with 15 home runs, 28 stolen bases and a career-best .316 batting average.

[+] EnlargeJacoby Ellsbury
Howard Smith/US PresswireJacoby Ellsbury has hit .332 since the start of May.
How many outfielders did you draft instead of Ellsbury? I can raise my hand to choosing Jason Heyward, Jayson Werth and Mike Stanton before him. I tend to avoid powerless hitters on draft day unless it's Round 15 and Juan Pierre is sitting there. In the first few rounds, I target Kemp types who can hit for power and steal bases (though that's not Stanton). I've got Kemp in numerous leagues. I have Ellsbury in one league, a simulation format in which I persuaded Cockcroft to part with him in a dubious draft-day trade (apologies, Tristan, had to do it).