Crawford is Perfect Addition to Red Sox

December 9, 2010 at 9:55 am Leave a comment

Carl Crawford

I wrote the other day asking if Carl Crawford was one of the top 30 players in all of baseball.  Well, if he isn’t, he is sure is being paid like one.  The Boston Red Sox have signed Carl Crawford to a 7-year $142M contract.  The deal will take Crawford through his age 35 season, leaving little room for a decline phase on this seven year contract.  Believe me when I say that Crawford is worth every penny.

Crawford is coming off of the best season of his young, yet long career.  He hit .307/.356/.495 with an OPS+ of 134 and wOBA of .378, 47 stolen bases, and 21.2 UZR/150 for a career high 6.9 fWAR.  Crawford also set a career high with 19 homeruns, 141 wRC+, and .188 ISO.

We already know that Crawford is the best defensive leftfielder in the game and possibly the best defensive outfielder overall.  He has made more plays out of his zone than any other player at any position over the past three years.  Sure, Fenway may hurt some of his range but it will allow the centerfielder to play a few steps to his left and feel like he will get burned in the left-center field gap.

I am not sure how the Red Sox will do their lineup.  My guess is that, on most nights, Crawford will bat behind Dustin Pedroia in the 2-hole, where I believe he belongs.

In 2651 plate appearances Crawford’s has hit .305/.349/.463 from the 2-hole.  By far his best spot in the lineup throughout his career.  I also love the 2-hole for him because he hits best with men on base, especially with men on first, forcing the firstbaseman to hold the runner thus leaving a bigger gap on the right side of the infield. 

In 296 plate appearances last year Crawford hit .350/.399/.555 with men on base.  This is not to say that he has some “special clutch skill” but to show that he exploits the holes created by the defense when men are on base.  Crawford’s plus-plus speed also makes it difficult to double him up.  He only grounded into 2 double plays all year.  With Pedroia getting on base 37% of the time Crawford should have no problem hitting well above .300 this year with a shot at .320+.

This move makes the Red Sox immediate favorites in the AL East.  Sure, they may be left handed heavy, but they have a deep rotation and an incredibly deep and young bench.  Oh, and the best leftfielder in the game.

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