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2013 Dodgers review: A.J. Ellis

Ellis hit the home run that clinched the National League West for the Dodgers in 2013.

Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

A look back at the 2013 season for the Dodgers' starting catcher, A.J. Ellis.

What went right

In his second full major league season behind the plate, Ellis hit 10 home runs, his second straight season of hitting more homers in the majors than he did in any single minor league campaign.

No home run from Ellis was bigger than on Sept. 19 in Phoenix, when Ellis drove the first pitch of the eighth inning off Josh Collmenter into the left field seats, giving the Dodgers a 7-6 lead in a game they won by the same score to clinch the National League West.

"That home run there was as big as it gets for me," Ellis said. "I floated around the bases."

In the playoffs, Ellis hit a robust .323/.400/.613 with a home run and six extra-base hits in 10 games.

He and Clayton Kershaw beat Zack Greinke in fantasy football.

Ellis improved greatly in throwing out runners in 2013, erasing 28 of 63 would-be base stealers (44.4%), second only to Ryan Hanigan of the Reds in caught stealing percentage among National League catchers. Runners against Ellis attempted to steal far less often in 2013 than in 2012 (110 attempts), and were successful less often, as Ellis threw out 32.7% in 2012.

After committing 10 passed balls in the first four months of 2012, Ellis committed just one over the final two months of the season. He continued that improvement into 2013, with six passed balls over the whole season.

What went wrong

Unfortunately, Ellis committed a passed ball in the fifth inning of Game 2 of the NLCS, allowing David Freese to advance to third base with nobody out. Freese scored that inning, and the unearned run was the only tally of the game, putting the Dodgers behind 2-0 in the series.

Ellis missed 14 games on the disabled list in June with a strained left oblique.

His batting average declined from .270 to .238, and his walk rate declined from 12.9% in 2012 to 10.0% in 2013, but Ellis was still 10th in walk rate among catchers with 300 plate appearances.

2014 status

Ellis has three years, 151 days of service time, and is eligible for salary arbitration in 2014, due a raise from his $2 million earned in 2013. Matt Swartz at MLB Trade Rumors predicted $3.2 million for Ellis next season.