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The Suddenly Visible Man

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We can tell ourselves over and over the same line, knowing that it's mostly truth. You can't tell anything from a mere 30 or 40 at-bats. It's logic and anecdotal experience meshing like some peanut butter and jelly sandwich of wisdom. We've seen Terrell Lowry and Mike Benjamin develop into Norse gods for a week, only to find their flaming wreckage in a Missouri cornfield.

It shouldn't be different when looking at Jason Ellison. Yes, he's hitting 1.001 for the year, and running around like a ferret when he's on base. The left side of your brain, though, is going to start taking hostages if you don't look at his minor-league stats again.

And yet...

The position where he would Pipp out the incumbent is center. Ellison is already a superior defender to Marquis Grissom, so how much better of a hitter does he have to be? This is what makes the bandwagon easier: not much. Well, a whole heck of a lot if you're thinking about the Grissom of the past two years. No one was thinking he could do as well, and we thank him, but the other shoe just woke my cat up. It is entirely plausible for Grissom to max out at the .250/.280/.400 he's showing. Combine that with some declining defense, and you have a player you're willing to take chances to replace.

Ellison, based on his minor league stats, might seem a fair bet to hit .260/.310/.350. That might make him the equal to Grissom, once defense is accounted for. However, if this is Mega-Ellison, who trained in a snowy Russian gulag for six months to make sure he was tough enough for the majors, you just might have to consider that gravy. Sometimes, players just develop with no rhyme or reason. Not often at all, but keeping Grissom in the lineup isn't a big enough barrier to finding out.

This is all predicated on the idea that what you see is what you get from Grissom, who is worth the playing time if he starts hitting like the past two years. Do you buy Ellison's start, or do you think Grissom is going to bounce back?