Is Crawford a Top 30 Player? ESPN Doesn’t Think So

December 7, 2010 at 10:00 pm 2 comments

Carl Crawford

If you frequent ESPN.com you probably have noticed that they post “List Rankers” that allow visitors to rank the players they have chosen for a certain category.  The most recent one posted is Baseball’s Best Players and you can rank the top 30 players, chosen by ESPN, in whatever order you prefer.  The list varied from obvious choices like Albert Pujols, Evan Longoria, and Miguel Cabrera to not-so-obvious choices like Paul Konerko, Tim Hudson, and 126M dollar man Jayson Werth.  You could probably argue for a few people to make the Top 30 list but none more than Carl Crawford.

In 2010, Crawford was an All-Star, won a Gold Glove, won a Silver Slugger Award, lead the league in triples, had on OPS+ of 134, +52 baserunning, and finished tied for 6th in fWAR with 6.9.

He has played 9 seasons in the Majors and will start the 2010 season at the tender age of 29, or, right in the middle of his prime.  In those 9 seasons he has been one of the most dynamic players with 1480 hits, 215 doubles, 105 triples, 104 homeruns, and 409 stolen bases.  He has lead the league in stolen bases 4 times, triples 4 times, and PwrSpd 2 times.

Over the past 3 seasons he has a +77 in leftfield, that is 35 more than the next closest leftfielder (Matt Holiday at +42) and 15 more than the next closest outfielder (Franklin Gutierrez at +62).

Here are some ranks of Crawford’s since he debuted in 2002:

 Stat  Total  Rank Since 2002
 Triples  105  1st
 Stolen Bases  409  2nd
 RF/G  2.23  1st
 Total Zone Runs  62  1st (among LF)
 Hits  1480  14th
 AVG.  .296  19th

Bill James also gives Crawford a 30% chance of reaching 3000 hits and a 6% chance of reaching 1000 steals.  Both are marks that, if reached, are sure tickets to Cooperstown.

As the best defensive outfielder in the game, Crawford has it all:  Speed, Power, Defense, Baserunning, Developing Power, and he is just entering his prime, coming off of the best season of his career as a 28 year old. 

I dare say that if Crawford had been playing for the Yankees the past 9 season ESPN probably would have had him on this list but, instead, they completely whiffed and left him off their list when he is without a doubt one of the 30 best players in the game.

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