Yesterday in Braun Best of the Bunch, I bragged about how smart I was in suggesting taking Braun at the top of the first round in 2011. Today, I’ll throw the proverbial bucket of cold water all over myself for my other “lock” this year – Carl Crawford.
Back in January I suggested taking Carl Crawford over Troy Tulowitzki in Pick Your Poison as I wrote a whole piece defending myself for making just that decision in the FSTA Experts Draft in Las Vegas (amazingly, I still won that experts league even with CC as my first round pick). How could I have been so horribly wrong when it came to Crawford in 2011? Let’s investigate.
Here are the main points that I laid out to support the selection of Crawford back in January.
(1) Crawford is as consistent as any performer in the game.
From 2004-2010, Crawford was a top-13 performer in six of seven seasons. The only time he failed to live up to that lofty level was in 2008 when he played only 109 games due to injury. He was injured in 2011 as well, though he still appeared in 130 games. However, he failed miserably at the plate with a career worst 65 runs scored, his 56 RBI was his lowest total since 2004, and his 18 steals were a career worst (he’d been under 45 in each of his last seven healthy seasons). In the end he wasn’t a top-13 player. He wasn’t a top-13 outfielder. Hell, we wasn’t even in the top-213 fantasy performers in the game. He was an abject failure.
(2) Crawford will be a part of an excellent offense in Boston.
The Red Sox were second in the AL with a .280 batting average and third with 203 homers, and first in runs scored (875) and RBI (842). The club also led the AL with a .349 PBP and a .461 SLG.
(3) Speed kills.
As I mentioned above, Crawford barely produced 40% of his normal total in steals, a shocking fall.
(4) Track record.
As much as I was leaning on the impeccable production history of Crawford, I was also looking at the less than terrific health record of Tulowitzki.
So what the hell went wrong with Crawford? I could say he let the money get to him, or perhaps the pressure of playing in Boston where the love of baseball is palpable in the air played a part, and we can always lean on injury as well. But the fact is he just stunk. The speed evaporated. His walk rate was a six year low. His K-rate was a career worst. His BABIP was .299, well below his career .328 mark. For goodness sakes, Crawford’s OBP was .289. His career batting average is .293.
As right as I was about Braun, I was equally as wrong about Crawford. However, I wouldn’t be at all shocked if Crawford was a major bargain next year since he’s going to be drafted much later than he should be because of his down 2011 effort. Still, he’s gonna be part of a good offense, in a good park for hitters, and he’ll be just 31 years old next season. I’ll be in his corner next season yet again, even though his 2011 effort was an unmitigated disaster.
By Ray Flowers