Thursday, December 22, 2011

Season in Review: Carl Crawford


Preseason Predictions:
.303 BA, 18 HR, 95 RBI, 108 R, .362 OBP, .848 OPS, 54 SB, 5.5 fWAR

Actual Stats:
.255 BA, 11 HR, 56 RBI, 65 R, .289 OBP, .694 OPS, 18 SB, 0.2 fWAR

Carl Crawford was easily the most disappointing player on the Red Sox roster this season, becoming the topic of many Red Sox fans' complaints this entire season. He was brought in over the winter as a free agent with a 7 year, $142 million contract. Because of this, the expectations were high, and for whatever reason, Crawford failed to come close to them. Much of Crawford's struggles came in April, where he posted a vomit-worthy .155/.204/.227 triple slash line. While the rest of his season wasn't up to expectations, he still posted a much improved .279/..309/.447 triple slash line from May on. Of course, any way you slice it, Crawford had a down year. First of all, he completely forgot how to draw a walk. While this was never a particularly strong area of his game, his 4.3% BB-rate in 2011 was his lowest since 2005. He also set a career high in K-rate with 19.3%, about 4.5 points higher than his career number. His power fell off some from 2010, but his .150 ISO is about on par with what he has done in his career. A surprising thing about Crawford's 2011 season is that he actually improved his line-drive percentage from 2010, although the 18.1% rate was still slightly below his career average. Although his .299 BABIP is reason to believe he should see some natural improvement in his numbers next year (his career BABIP is .328), his offensive numbers were so bad he'll need more than just added luck. His wOBA was .304, his lowest full-season total and 16 points lower than the LF average, and his wRC+ was 83, also his lowest number as a full-timer and 17 points behind the positional average. UZR even ranked Crawford as below average, despite loving him basically every year of his career. These numbers can be shaky year-to-year, so he may see an improvement next year, but even to the eye he looked worse than he had previously in his career.

Final Grade:
There is no way to put a nice twist on this. While I am still very confident Crawford can return to being a ~5 WAR player, his 2011 season was abysmal. I have to give him an F.

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