LOS ANGELES -- It will take a campaign because name recognition isn't there yet, but A.J. Ellis is playing like an All-Star so far in his first season as a starter.
The 31-year-old Dodgers catcher is doing it on both sides of the plate. He's hitting .317, reached base in 23 consecutive games, is third in the Majors with a .462 on-base percentage and is hitting .385 with runners in scoring position. Ellis has a .974 OPS, best among National League catchers.
"To be honest, I didn't think A.J. would be lighting it up offensively," manager Don Mattingly said. "He's really swinging the bat well. We expected the defense, the way he's handled the staff, all the preparation. What we're getting offensively, honestly, is more than I thought."
Ellis also has thrown out 42.3 percent of potential basestealers, second in the league.
Yadier Molina of the Cardinals and Brian McCann of the Braves are the most logical picks for the first two catching spots on the All-Star team. Molina is a three-time All-Star, McCann a six-timer, both playing for first-place teams.
To be the third catcher, Ellis most likely will need to beat out Philadelphia's Carlos Ruiz and Arizona's Miguel Montero.