Thursday, September 22, 2011

Is Carl Crawford 2007-JD Drew Pt. 2?


As of late, I have been hearing a lot of comparisons between the 2007 campaign for JD Drew, and this season's Carl Crawford. The reason being, of course, that both players were disappointing in their inaugural season with the hometown team, but JD Drew was able to turn it on in the playoffs, highlighted by a big grand slam in Game 6 of the ALCS against Cleveland. In case you've been living under a rock since April, I'll fill you in on Carl Crawford's first season in Boston. It has sucked. That about sums it up, I think.

Both players were big outfield free agent signings who had big expectations that weren't realized in year one. However, to compare JD Drew's 2007 campaign to the current one for Crawford is asinine. So far this year, Crawford has managed a meager 0.2 bWAR, compared to Drew's 2.7 in 2007. Of course, the reason people put Drew's season so far down is his personality, which is ironically judged by fans who have, presumably, never met the man. Now, Drew's season was not anything outstanding, posting a .270/.373/.423 triple slash line. However, compare that to Crawford's, which is .259/.295/.410. Drew's was clearly better, especially in the on base department, which is one of the reasons Crawford was brought in.

If you look at both of their splits, they each had their highest monthly OPS in September. However, the difference is that Drew's September OPS was 1.027, while Crawford's is currently standing at .835. Of course, Crawford's number can rise, but it would be safe to assume it will not rise to the caliber of Drew's. Even so, it is very difficult to say hot batting in September leads to a hot bat in October. Consider the case of Drew in 2007. After that extremely hot final month of the regular season, Drew started off that postseason by getting just two hits, and not walking once, in 11 at bats. Therefore, the hot month of September didn't carry over into the next part of the postseason.

That is the part of baseball that I fear many Red Sox fans are overlooking right now. The playoffs are a completely different animal. Just because a player is having a good September (which Crawford is having) doesn't mean he will play well in the postseason. A better indicator is past performance. In this respect, Crawford and Drew are very similar. Both players seem to struggle in the opening round of the tournament, but are then able to turn it on in the ALCS. Therefore, if the Red Sox are fortunate enough to be playing into October, look for that trend to continue, not his hot-September.

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