Dodgers catcher A.J. Ellis taking pitch framing to the next level.

A.J. Ellis

Dodgers catcher A.J. Ellis is working to improve how he receives pitches around the bottom of the strike zone. (Getty Images)

GLENDALE, Ariz. — A.J. Ellis answered a lot of questions about pitch framing when spring training commenced last year. He’d lost 111 calls on balls that “should have been” strikes in 2014, according to Pitch F/X data on the website StatCorner.com. Now, Ellis had a general manager who had heard of StatCorner.com.
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A.J. Ellis, Dodgers avoid arbitration with $4.5 million contract.

A.J. Ellis

Dodgers catcher A.J. Ellis caught 45 percent of attempted base stealers in 2015. (Associated Press photo)

The Dodgers re-signed A.J. Ellis to a one-year contract worth $4.5 million Wednesday, avoiding arbitration.

Ellis earned $4.25 million in 2015, his fourth full major league season. He proceeded to bat .238 — .277 from June 1 onward — with seven home runs in 63 games as the backup catcher to Yasmani Grandal.

Behind the plate, Ellis threw out a league-leading 45 percent of attempted base stealers and improved his pitch framing.

If Ellis is the only player who signs prior to today’s tender/non-tender deadline, the Dodgers will have seven arbitration-eligible players remaining on their 40-man roster: Luis Avilan, Grandal, Chris Hatcher, Kenley Jansen, Juan Nicasio, Justin Turner and Scott Van Slyke.

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Season in review about nothing: A.J. Ellis, ‘The Pool Guy.’

A.J. Ellis

It took him a couple months to settle into the routine, but A.J. Ellis thrived as the backup catcher to Yasmani Grandal in 2015. (Hans Gutknecht/Staff photographer)

This is Part 12 of a series in which every member of the 2015 Dodgers has his season juxtaposed with an episode of the greatest sitcom of all-time. Don’t take it too seriously.

A.J. Ellis, C.

Key stats: .238 batting average, .355 on-base percentage, .403 slugging percentage in 63 games; 45 percent caught stealing rate (1st in MLB) and below average framing.

Seinfeld episode: “The Pool Guy” (season 7, episode 8).

Key quote: “Hello and welcome to Moviefone. If you know the name of the movie you’d like to see, press one.”
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A.J. Ellis watched video to prepare to catch Zack Greinke in Game 5.

Zack Greinke

Yasmani Grandal has caught all but six of Zack Greinke’s 33 starts this season, including Game 2 of the National League Division Series. (Associated Press photo)


Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said Wednesday that both A.J. Ellis and Yasmani Grandal, who has a sore left shoulder, would prepare to catch Game 5 today.

Grandal is in the starting lineup. Did Ellis do anything extra today compared to a typical day he isn’t starting?

“I came in yesterday knowing what was going on with Yas and how he was feeling and made sure I went over to Zack and watched his game, Game 2 against these guys and how he matched up against the Mets throughout the season,” Ellis said.

“But talking to Yas last night and talking to Yas today, he looks great. He feels great, and I’m excited to watch him go out there and compete with Zack (Greinke). They have a great chemistry together. It’s no secret how well they’ve worked, and it’s all about Zack being comfortable. I think Yas has got some big swings in him tonight too.”

Grandal has caught all but six of Greinke’s starts this season. He has one hit and four striekouts in eight at-bats this series. Ellis has been swinging the hotter bat. He has one hit in each of his two starts this series, extending his postseason hitting streak to 12 games.

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Clayton Kershaw out of the bullpen? ‘Even though the moment is huge, what is right?’


We enjoy ribbing Dodgers manager Don Mattingly here for concealing even the most commonplace details of his game-to-game bullpen strategy. (Is Bronson Arroyo available tonight? Who knows?) This time, we get it.

Mattingly wouldn’t say whether or not Clayton Kershaw would be available out of the bullpen for Game 5 of the National League Division Series, two days after Kershaw pitched the Dodgers to a season-extending victory in Game 4.

“He’s here,” Mattingly said of Kershaw. “I’m not sure what we’ll do with him.”

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