Goodbye, Boston! In two seasons with the Red Sox, Carl Crawford played just 161 games. In those 161 games, he hit 14 homers, stole 23 bases, scored 88 runs, and tallied 75 RBI with a paltry .260 batting average. That’s not quite what Red Sox fans were expecting from a player who was marketed as “dynamic” by Boston’s brass.
After missing the beginning of last season with a wrist injury and the end of the year with Tommy John surgery, Crawford is now expected to be ready for Opening Day, 2013. According to MLBDepthCharts.com, he’ll be LA’s two-hole hitter in front of Matt Kemp, Adrian Gonzalez, and Hanley Ramirez. Crawford will be seeing a lot of pitches to hit.
We made this Crawford projection — 78 R, 11 HR, 64 RBI, 23 SB, .276 BA — back in November, but when our 2013 Fantasy Baseball Draft Guide comes out you will probably see a much more optimistic projected line for the four-time All Star. Now in early February, I feel much more comfortable with Crawford’s rehabilitation from TJS, and I think we’ll probably up our official playing time projection to something around 145-150 games.
At a Glance
- Strengths: R, SB
- Neutral: HR, RBI, BA, OPS
- Weaknesses: OBP
- Best-case scenario: Jose Reyes (TOR)
- Likely scenario: Jason Kipnis (CLE), Desmond Jennings (TB), Alejandro De Aza (CHW)
- Worst-case scenario: Cameron Maybin (SD)
Carl Crawford 2013 Fantasy Projection
Because of the uncertainty surrounding any Crawford projection — Can he be the player we saw in 2010? How healthy is he? How will LA’s park and lineup affect him? — we’ll be soliciting projections over on our Facebook page. I’m very interested in what fans project here.
Based on what we see over at MockDraftCentral.com, Crawford has a current ADP of 134. I’m not surprised he’s going lower than our projected rank (109), but keep in mind I plan to be even more bullish on Crawford than what you see here. There’s a strong chance that he gets back to the 35+ steal player we’ve seen, and he’s able to pop a solid 12-15 homers (or more) while doing it. Players with strong homer/steal combos always finish higher in the rankings than their ADPs, generally because I feel batting average is the most overrated fantasy stat, and Crawford could post one of the best power/speed totals in the league.
Despite the overall uncertainty, though, there are a few things we know about Crawford. He doesn’t walk, and he’ll lose a lot of value in OBP leagues. Last year his walk rate was just 2.4%, albeit that was in a shortened season. In 2011 his walk rate was just 4.3%, which is still pretty awful. It should be noted those numbers are lower than anything he’d done in the previous five years with the (Devil) Rays, so there’s always the chance that his new role in Boston and the tumultuous nature of the Red Sox clubhouse affected his approach at the plate. In fact, the soft-spoken Crawford was often rumored to be one of the players most affected by the toxic atmosphere in Boston.
Regardless, I’d love to grab Crawford if I get the chance, and I think I’d start planning on drafting Crawford around pick 75 or so.