Saturday, March 12, 2011

2011 Position Preview: Left Field

"It's amazing how you can hate somebody so much in a different uni and then fall in love with him when they're in your uni." That was a quote from manager Terry Francona, referring to offseason acquisition Carl Crawford, the new Red Sox left fielder. Red Sox fans should all be familiar with Crawford, as he was the face of the division rival Rays since 2003. With a superb combination of speed, hitting for average and defense, wth a little sprinkling of power here and there, it's no wonder he was the prize hitter of this offseason's free agency. Leading up to the signing, it looked all along that the Angels led the chase to sign him, but the Sox swept in at the last minute, signing Crawford to a seven year, 142 million dollar contract. With the addition of him and Adrian Gonzalez, the Red Sox have found a solid foundation for their lineup for years to come. 

Over the last seven seasons, Crawford has proven how valuable a player like him can be. Here are his stolen base numbers from 2003-2010: 55, 59, 46, 58, 50, 25 (injury riddled season), 60, 47.That kind of speed is invaluable, and can create many opportunities for an offense. However, for a player to be able to use that speed, a player needs to be able to get on base. Fortunately, Crawford has not had a problem with that, with a career on base percentage of .337. 

Crawford will likely fall nicely into the three hole this year, and should provide many RBI chances for Gonzalez. Crawford has played much of his career in a significantly worse line up than the one he will play in this year, with the only other real threats he's played along side being Longoria, Pena (who either strikes out or homers every plate appearance, it seems), and Upton. However, he has still been able to average an even 100 runs throughout his career. Here are my predicted numbers for Crawford this year.

.303 BA, 18 HR, 95 RBI, 108 R, .362 OBP, .848 OPS, 54 SB, 5.5 WAR, All Star

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