A.J. Ellis receives Roy Campanella Award

The Dodgers didn’t know what they were going to get from A.J. Ellis this year, at 31 years old and an everyday major-league catcher for the first time in his life.

Seamlessly, Ellis has asserted himself as one of the National League’s best defensive backstops and an on-base machine — in the process giving Dodgers necessary stability at the most important defensive position and an everyday number eight hitter. He’s also handled a pitching staff that ranks third in the NL in ERA (3.42) and second in opponents’ batting average (.239).

For these reasons, Ellis was named the winner of the seventh annual Roy Campanella Award, given to the Dodger player who best exemplifies the spirit and leadership of the late Hall of Fame catcher. The award, which was voted upon by Dodger uniform personnel, will be presented to Ellis by Campanella’s daughter, Joni Campanella Roan, during pre-game ceremonies Saturday night.

Former Dodger shortstop Rafael Furcal received the inaugural Roy Campanella Award in 2006 and since then the honor has been awarded to Russell Martin (2007), James Loney (2008), Juan Pierre (2009), Jamey Carroll (2010), Matt Kemp (2011) and now Ellis, who ranks fourth among Major League backstops with 125 games and 1,097.0 innings caught.

Ellis leads Dodger regulars with a .365 on-base percentage (13th in the NL)
and has seen a league-best 4.43 pitches per plate appearance while
leading the club with 62 walks (also 13th in the NL). Ellis’ three walkoff RBIs
lead the team and his 11 homers are his most at any level in his 10-year
professional career.

In a season beset by injuries, Ellis’ 125 games at catcher — a professional career high — rank fourth in the major leagues. His .994 fielding percentage is sixth in MLB.

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About J.P. Hoornstra

J.P. Hoornstra covers the Dodgers, Angels and Major League Baseball for the Orange County Register, Los Angeles Daily News, Long Beach Press-Telegram, Torrance Daily Breeze, San Gabriel Valley Tribune, Pasadena Star-News, San Bernardino Sun, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, Whittier Daily News and Redlands Daily Facts. Before taking the beat in 2012, J.P. covered the NHL for four years. UCLA gave him a degree once upon a time; when he graduated on schedule, he missed getting Arnold Schwarzenegger's autograph on his diploma by five months.