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   1. Darren Posted: May 16, 2011 at 10:36 PM (#3829270)
It's only $140 Mil!
   2. Gonfalon B. Posted: May 16, 2011 at 11:01 PM (#3829293)
Typically, when you pay someone more than $20M to do a thing, you expect them to not suck at that thing.

:::Keanu Reeves gives you a blank, uncomprehending stare:::
   3. Dale Sams Posted: May 17, 2011 at 03:36 AM (#3829844)
As i said in game chatter, he's not just lunging at balls...he's just sticking his bat at the ball while his ass flies toward the dugout. At least Pedey and Salty actually take real swings.

And again, I don't care what worked for him his whole career, very little will change until he gets his right foot further in the box, holds his hands lower and stops moving all these pieces.
   4. Darren Posted: May 17, 2011 at 03:52 AM (#3829870)
How about a "bunch of stuff" thread about Gonzalez, including his Ichiro AB against CC?
   5. Dan Posted: May 17, 2011 at 05:02 AM (#3829940)
Here's a GIF of the "Ichiro AB" from Gonzo. It's ####### dead on.
   6. Dan Posted: May 17, 2011 at 05:08 AM (#3829942)
As for Crawford, I really don't know what to say. He just looks totally lost. He doesn't look like someone who's been playing professional baseball his whole life; his swing seems to have no authority and it never stays on the plane with the ball. He's still swinging at the same pitches as always, but he's just incapable of squaring up the bat on the ball to make solid contact. Everything is hit weakly. His AB against Uehara tonight was illustrative of his issues. He was swinging and missing or getting jammed on 89-90 MPH fastballs with little movement.

I think he needs to be sent to an eye doctor or possibly a sports psychologist. Or both. Despite the short run where he appeared to turn things around, he's still totally ###### at the plate. He just doesn't hit the ball hard.
   7. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: May 17, 2011 at 11:35 AM (#3829992)
How about a "bunch of stuff" thread about Gonzalez, including his Ichiro AB against CC?
That is so freaking cool.

It gets at what I love most about Adrian - his creativity. The two plays that stick out for me are the throw he made to 3rd base on the hard grounder, and the play in the last Yankee game when Gardner was picked off. Lester's throw came in a little late, but Gonzalez immediately pump-faked to freeze Gardner, and from there it was an easy pickle.

He's not just super-great at baseball, and it's not just baseball intelligence- it's baseball creativity. He can see opportunities on the field that the rest of us can't, and he has the talent to realize them.
   8. bfan Posted: May 17, 2011 at 11:52 AM (#3829999)
So the Red Sox did fabulously well on one off-season pick-up, and really badly on the other? At this point, given that we are 1/4 through the season, Crawford can return to his career norms for the rest of the season, and still have a crappy year.
   9. Joe Bivens, Minor Genius Posted: May 17, 2011 at 11:53 AM (#3830000)
Can we wait until the weather warms up a bit before we declare Crawford a bust?
   10. pkb33 Posted: May 17, 2011 at 12:19 PM (#3830012)
Can we wait until the weather warms up a bit before we declare Crawford a bust?

Agreed. It always amazes me when people who should know better get caught up in it.
   11. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: May 17, 2011 at 12:26 PM (#3830017)
Not to be defensive - but which specific argument in the post should a person know better than to make?
   12. Joe Bivens, Minor Genius Posted: May 17, 2011 at 12:26 PM (#3830018)
8...I guess that depends what the objectives are. If Crawford plays well the rest of the way in and helps the team win, I won't say they did "really badly" by signing him. I don't care what his OPS+ will end up being, I didn't draft him for my fantasy team.
   13. Joe Bivens, Minor Genius Posted: May 17, 2011 at 12:28 PM (#3830020)
I'd say that declaring the whole contract a bust because he *might* stink this year is a little bit silly.
   14. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: May 17, 2011 at 12:31 PM (#3830022)
I'd say that declaring the whole contract a bust because he *might* stink this year is a little bit silly.
And I said that, where?

My argument, when talking about the contract, is that Carl Crawford's projection going forward is now a bit less than 10 runs per season worse than it was coming into the year. That should change the calculation on what sort of contract he'd deserve.
   15. Rusty Priske Posted: May 17, 2011 at 12:34 PM (#3830025)
I don't care what his OPS+ will end up being, I didn't draft him for my fantasy team.


I did.


{sigh}



(Strat keeper league, actually. He has served me well thus far...)
   16. Joe Bivens, Minor Genius Posted: May 17, 2011 at 12:34 PM (#3830026)
You're saying they made a mistake in paying him all that money, based on the first 40 games of the season. I think that's silly.
   17. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: May 17, 2011 at 12:45 PM (#3830036)
You're saying they made a mistake in paying him all that money, based on the first 40 games of the season. I think that's silly.
Do you agree that if Carl Crawford projects 50 points of OPS worse going forward, that he should be worthy of a lesser contract? That a contract based on an expectation of an OPS 50 points higher would be a larger contract?

Are you arguing that the ZiPS projection is wrong now, or was wrong in the spring? (I'm just taking the number from Fangraphs, so I could be misreading something, or Fangraphs could be doing something wrong. Any corrections, opportunities for dialogue and education on this are welcome.) Are you arguing that Crawford's contract was a bargain at the time, so it can't be a bad idea now?

And I appreciate you've walked back the claim that anyone said the contract "is a bust."
   18. The Marksist Posted: May 17, 2011 at 01:01 PM (#3830044)
If this 40 game stretch has dragged down Crawford's projection so much, would a 40 game hot streak bring it back up? If so, I think we should probably wait a little while before drawing firm conclusions about his projections. I realize you've said nothing definitive about whether Crawford will be "worth" his contract, MCoA, but we've a long way to go before we should be writing him off as sunk cost or anything.
   19. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: May 17, 2011 at 01:07 PM (#3830049)
Do you agree that if Carl Crawford projects 50 points of OPS worse going forward, that he should be worthy of a lesser contract?


That is certainly true.

Are you arguing that the ZiPS projection is wrong now, or was wrong in the spring?


I'm skeptical of the accuracy of the updated ZiPS. I have no doubt the math works out but I think there are a variety of factors that may or may not have gone into Crawford's early season struggles that may not exist for the life of the contract;

1. Just a natural slump - These will happen of course but I think it got exacerbated by the circumstances
2. Pressing to live up to the new contract - This could linger if he has a bad year of course
3. Platoon split - 37% of PA vs. LHP in April, only 19% in May, career average is 30%, of course he has not really hit righties either

I tend to be skeptical of the mathematical forecasts when there is a serious outlier in the middle of the data. I'm sure they attempt to account for these things but when a player plays radically above/below his capability for a small period of time in the midst of a generally stable run I think we have to acknowledge that it is likely that there is something in there that is unusual. Perhaps it IS a talent change but that seems unlikely for a 29 year old player.
   20. Rants Mulliniks Posted: May 17, 2011 at 01:08 PM (#3830050)
I don't know, but even if he were hitting .350/.390/.520 right now I'd say it was a mistake to pay him all that money. He's never hit 20 homers and he doesn't walk at all, and he's an LF (albeit a good one). How that makes a $140 M player is beyond me.
   21. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: May 17, 2011 at 01:11 PM (#3830054)
If this 40 game stretch has dragged down Crawford's projection so much, would a 40 game hot streak bring it back up?
Well, Crawford's got a 525 OPS right now. A 40-game stretch at about 1175 would get his OPS back up to 850, and his projection back on track. He doesn't need a "hot streak", he needs to be George Brett 1980 for two months.

The point of turning to projections is that they place short-sample performance in context. It appears to be the case that even if you contextualize Crawford's terrible 150 PA, they still have a significant effect on his projected performance going forward.

If Crawford projects maybe eight runs a year worse than he did in March, that makes the contract a worse bet. Not an awful one, obviously not a bust, but a worse bet than it was when the Sox offered it.
   22. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: May 17, 2011 at 01:13 PM (#3830057)
I don't know, but even if he were hitting .350/.390/.520 right now I'd say it was a mistake to pay him all that money. He's never hit 20 homers and he doesn't walk at all, and he's an LF (albeit a good one). How that makes a $140 M player is beyond me.
Reposting from the other thread...

Crawford 2009
+18 batting runs above average
+5.5 SB runs above average
+17.5 fielding runs above average
+22 runs above replacement level
-7 runs positional adjustment

Crawford 2010
+27 batting runs above average
+5 SB runs above average
+18 fielding runs above average
+22 runs above replacement level
-7 runs positional adjustment

That's an average well over 6 WAR per season. It's a legitimately elite player. You can argue that the defensive numbers should be lower, but even if you cut 20 runs from his overall defense, that's a 5+ WAR player. This is how a medium-power, low-walk LF can be worth $140M. With these numbers.
   23. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: May 17, 2011 at 01:23 PM (#3830066)
Perhaps it IS a talent change but that seems unlikely for a 29 year old player.
Here's one way of contextualizing the slump. This is Crawford's total performance 2010-2011, pro-rated to 155 games.

286/333/451 with 175 hits, 30 2B, 11 3B, 16 HR, 42 SB / 10 CS, 42 BB / 107 K in 610 AB

What if Carl Crawford had done that in 2010? His projection would be about the same as it is right now - a bit better, actually. That's a much tougher player to offer $140M to than the guy coming off the 307/356/495 season.

I'm not saying he's suddenly gotten worse. I'm saying, what if he wasn't as good as he seemed, based on the numbers? And the numbers do in fact now suggest precisely that he isn't as good as he seemed.
   24. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: May 17, 2011 at 02:11 PM (#3830115)
That may be true but I am skeptical of that. I guess there probably is no way to verify this (not easily anyway) but I think would have more confidence in a player who went .800-.600-.800 than a player who went .750-.700-.750. I would assume that the .600 was driven by something that we were not aware of. I'm not saying we completely dismiss it, but I think we have to be careful not to overreact to it.
   25. Joel W Posted: May 17, 2011 at 03:02 PM (#3830172)
I'm also skeptical of the ZiPS projection because I think we have a reasonable explanation for why he's stunk so much: he's pressing, really hard. Like you said, he's just a really bad version of himself. I don't think Carl Crawford suddenly forgot how to be a good baseball player.

Beltran stunk in his first season w/ the Mets, JD Drew stunk in his first season with Boston, A-Rod lost 100 points of OPS in his first season with the Yankees. So did Jason Giambi. Adrian Beltre had a really tough first year in Seattle.

Vlad stayed the same after signing his first big contract in Anaheim. Teixeira had a pretty good year in New York, though he struggled mightily in April that year. A-Rod had a big season his first year in Texas.

Those are the leading active hitters in WAR who changed teams via FA/Trade with long, big contracts right around their peak. None of them had better seasons in their first year with their new team. Some were the same. Many were particularly worse than the previous season. Some of this has to do with regression to the mean, but players like Drew and Beltre bounced back.

Isn't it possible that players really do press after signing a big contract in a new big market, and then become themselves again? #### LeBron stunk in November this year.
   26. Danlby Posted: May 18, 2011 at 09:58 PM (#3831733)
Do the in-season ZIPs projections account not only for a change in the player but also the league? With offense generally down, is part of the 50 points dropped in OPS unrelated to Crawford's production?
   27. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: May 20, 2011 at 04:24 AM (#3833172)
So, what's the record for walk-off hits for a player with a sub-600 OPS?
   28. Dale Sams Posted: May 20, 2011 at 04:52 AM (#3833190)
My astonishment at the idiocy of some pitchers in this league prevents me from fully appreciating the Sox right now. Crawford has *ONE* hotzone. Do not pitch him there. There's no excuse for ever giving Salty a fastball near the strike-zone.....and Iglesias and Tito have combined to cost my boy Lowrie 2 runs, 1 hit and 1 RBI. Unacceptable.
   29. Dan Posted: May 20, 2011 at 05:35 AM (#3833206)
Iglesias and Tito have combined to cost my boy Lowrie 2 runs, 1 hit and 1 RBI. Unacceptable.


If it makes you feel any better, Iglesias is on his way back to Pawtucket tonight.
   30. Darren Posted: May 20, 2011 at 02:17 PM (#3833307)
It makes me feel better. He clearly wasn't ready and he made two pretty ugly gaffes on the bases. There seems to be some debate about who will replace him.
   31. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: May 20, 2011 at 02:39 PM (#3833332)
It makes me feel better. He clearly wasn't ready and he made two pretty ugly gaffes on the bases. There seems to be some debate about who will replace him.
The problem looks to be the 40-man roster. There isn't anyone on that roster that looks like a clear DFA candidate - Nava's the most likely. Aside from Iglesias, the only other minor league middle infielders on the 40-man are Yamaico Navarro, who's hurt, and Oscar Tejeda, who isn't close to ready for MLB. I guess the Sox will try, up until maybe 5 pm today, to make a move to clear space for Sutton or Dlugach, and if they can't, they'll hope Nava's terrible start to 2011 will protect him on waivers, and DFA him to get one of the minor league utility guys up.
   32. Weekly Journalist_ Posted: May 20, 2011 at 02:50 PM (#3833343)
I have to say that this run for the Red Sox has been maddening for me. Not just because they kicked the Yankees asses, but because the entire sreak seems to be made up of narrow, dramatic, "oh they're gonna lose, no wait they're not!" types of games. Definitely making up for some of the #### luck early this season.

Sox are very good. Maybe not great like we all thought, but very good. Gonzalez is going to be a fright for the rest of the season.
   33. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: May 20, 2011 at 03:06 PM (#3833359)
One possibility might be that Matsuzaka goes on the 60 day DL. Based on the timetable I have seen that would not impact his return at all though that may be premature. If they really think 4 weeks of rest then 4 weeks of rehab that could work.

The other possibility (and I don't know how the rules work) might be Kalish for the 60 day DL. I haven't read anything recently but it certainly didn't seem like he would be back anytime within 60 days of the original injury. I don't know if the 60 day DL exists in the minors though.

WJ - I'm not sure if I'm excited or not but I feel like that even with the recent stretch of a good won/loss record they still haven't played particularly well. Part of me thinks "woo-hoo, when they get hot it's going to be awesome" while the other part thinks "yikes, they just aren't impressive and it's going to be a year long struggle."
   34. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: May 20, 2011 at 03:22 PM (#3833374)
I think the Red Sox have been playing pretty well. They've been lucky/clutchy in turning runs into wins, but somewhat unlucky/unclutchy in turning hits and walks into runs. For the month of May, they're 12-5 with an 8.7-8.3 Pyth, but a 10-7 expected record based on expected runs scored.

A part of that overperformance of Pyth is also a function of Papelbon. He's been a beast in high-leverage this month. I guess you could call that a subset of luck - Papelbon isn't a true 1.5 ERA pitcher - but it's also a subset of actually-playing-good.
   35. Weekly Journalist_ Posted: May 20, 2011 at 03:26 PM (#3833382)
double post
   36. Weekly Journalist_ Posted: May 20, 2011 at 03:27 PM (#3833385)
Papelbon isn't a true 1.5 ERA pitcher

No, but he's a very talented pitcher and his velocity seems up (?). This could just be one of those years where it all goes right for him. He did post sub 2 ERAs three times before in his career. Funny about all that trade Papelbon talk on WEEI. Right now it's Bard who looks a bit iffy.
   37. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: May 20, 2011 at 03:36 PM (#3833395)
No, but he's a very talented pitcher and his velocity seems up (?).


I don't know if his velocity is up or it just looks that way because of is secondary pitches. The slider and the splitter are MUCH better pitches than they have been in the past two years for him.

Also, it's a little thing but he seems to be throwing that damned "stand up fastball" much better than he ever has. It seemed like he always would either groove it or throw it over the guys head but this year he seems to be getting at that shoulder/neck height that is nearly ideal. he's got a bunch of strikeouts on that pitch.
   38. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: May 20, 2011 at 03:37 PM (#3833397)
Funny about all that trade Papelbon talk on WEEI.
I appreciate you wrote "on WEEI" without linking to the blog post where I called for the Red Sox to trade Papelbon. Woulda been a good burn.

My wacky semi-conspiracy theory on Papelbon is that he's the rare player to whom "contract year" concerns might really apply. If his struggles in past years have been a function, in part, of Papelbon using more conservative mechanics and staying away from off-speed and breaking pitches to protect his arm, then it's possible that in a contract year he'd air it out more and use his secondary stuff more.

In any event, it's been fun as #### to watch him dominate again. (Where's Fly at?)
   39. Weekly Journalist_ Posted: May 20, 2011 at 03:43 PM (#3833406)
So what about Bard? Concern? His breaking stuff seems to get hammered a bit too often.
   40. Weekly Journalist_ Posted: May 20, 2011 at 03:47 PM (#3833409)
I just took a look at Bard's game log and after a bad first outing he was pretty great for most of the season. He's given up 4 runs in his last 6 appearances, but my guess would simply be a bump in the road.
   41. John DiFool2 Posted: May 20, 2011 at 03:49 PM (#3833412)
I remember when Bard first came up how nasty and late the movement on the slider was. Now it seems more slurvy, slower, and less sharp (c.f. the one that lead to Miggy's game-tying home run last night).
   42. Weekly Journalist_ Posted: May 20, 2011 at 03:49 PM (#3833413)

My wacky semi-conspiracy theory on Papelbon is that he's the rare player to whom "contract year" concerns might really apply. If his struggles in past years have been a function, in part, of Papelbon using more conservative mechanics and staying away from off-speed and breaking pitches to protect his arm, then it's possible that in a contract year he'd air it out more and use his secondary stuff more.


Interesting theory. If it really is the case, good for the Sox for this year, but you do have to wonder if it can hold up for an entire season. I also tend to think he was better last year than he got credit for and a lot of the concern was overstated.
   43. Weekly Journalist_ Posted: May 20, 2011 at 03:50 PM (#3833415)
c.f. the one that lead to Miggy's game-tying home run last night).

I believe that WAS a curveball, not a slider. Did he used to slow more sliders? I think of him as a FB/Curve type.
   44. Weekly Journalist_ Posted: May 20, 2011 at 03:52 PM (#3833418)
Joba is another pitcher who used to throw a sharper slider. I think the problem is that it's difficult to throw for strikes, and in fact isn't really meant to be thrown as a strike, and hitters start laying off. Now Joba throws a loopier slider that he throws for strikes, along with a curve. It's less "devestating" but it was a necessary adjustment, especially when his velocity fell after the shoulder injury.
   45. Joel W Posted: May 20, 2011 at 03:53 PM (#3833419)
The Daniel Bard with the 3.5 ERA, 22 Ks, 7 BBs, and 3HRs in 21 innings? Yes, 3 HRs is too many, but I'm not exactly sure why I'm supposed to be worried.
   46. Weekly Journalist_ Posted: May 20, 2011 at 03:58 PM (#3833422)
He actually has 22 K in 23 innings. ;) And no, I wouldn't be particularly worried, but then I wouldn't have been worried about Papelbon after last year either.

Part of it was just my misperception: Bard has given up at least run three of the last four times I've personally watched him, and in one other outing walked two guys. I don't get NESN anymore and don't watch the Red Sox all the time.
   47. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: May 20, 2011 at 03:58 PM (#3833425)
So what about Bard? Concern? His breaking stuff seems to get hammered a bit too often.


Leadoff batters have a .381 OBP against Bard. I don't think he's pitching badly, he's just pitching into bad timing (last night was bad obviously). Of the six outings he has allowed a run in, five of them have featured the lead off man getting on (2 of those are home runs by the leadoff batter - Cooper and Boesch). The only time he has retired the leadoff man and allowed a run was Opening Day.
   48. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: May 20, 2011 at 04:14 PM (#3833435)
I remember when Bard first came up how nasty and late the movement on the slider was.
That is not how I remember it at all. When Bard came up he was all fastball, and he had this slurvy thing as a show-me secondary pitch, at best. (In important games in college, Bard basically threw 100% fastballs, so he really had to learn a second pitch as a pro.) He's been refining the slider, and has thrown a harder, tighter slider at times, at other times has thrown a slider that moves a lot like a hard curve, and at other times has gone with a loopier, slurvier offering. My guess is that Bard still hasn't settled on a breaking pitch that he can command consistently.
   49. Dale Sams Posted: May 20, 2011 at 04:44 PM (#3833461)
FUnny thing about baseball? That Albuquerque guy last night that I'd never heard of? The one who for all practical purposes didn't get anyone out? His stuff was insane! He was throwing a 94 MPH fastball that tailed like a screwball! I was amazed Lowrie hung in there....and pissed that Crawford stole his thunder.

edit: I actually just cleaned up his Wiki page. It had him pitching for the Tulsa Oilers in 2010. A team that hasn't existed since 1976 or so.
   50. Fly should without a doubt be number !!!!! Posted: May 20, 2011 at 04:45 PM (#3833462)
In any event, it's been fun as #### to watch him dominate again. (Where's Fly at?)

Papelbon has been, as usual, terrible this year. I don't see how you could make the argument that he hasn't been. Every outing is a rollercoaster, and he gets through by the skin of his teeth. He has rarely gotten through an inning without allowing a baserunner.
   51. Nasty Nate Posted: May 20, 2011 at 04:51 PM (#3833469)
Papelbon has been, as usual, terrible this year.


Not to mention he's still pitching with that serious arm injury that he's had for 3 years running!
   52. Weekly Journalist_ Posted: May 20, 2011 at 07:24 PM (#3833693)
Is 50 sarcasm?
   53. Darren Posted: May 20, 2011 at 07:42 PM (#3833709)
Papelbon has been, as usual, terrible this year.


Don't ever change, karl.
   54. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: May 20, 2011 at 07:50 PM (#3833715)
they'll hope Nava's terrible start to 2011 will protect him on waivers, and DFA him to get one of the minor league utility guys up


Score one for MCoA. Nava DFAd, Drew Sutton getting the call.
   55. Fly should without a doubt be number !!!!! Posted: May 20, 2011 at 08:22 PM (#3833748)
Is 50 sarcasm?

No. He's been awful.
   56. ptodd Posted: May 21, 2011 at 08:22 AM (#3834186)
During ST I was listening to the Rays broadcasters when the Red Sox were in town and they kept going on about how much weight (muscle) Crawford had gained in the offseason. They thought he really bulked up and wondered how that would affect his game. They thought he did so to try to hit more HR, and were concerned about him losing some speed, but maybe he lost some bat speed as well?

Fenway is not a good fit for Crawford, offensively or defensively. Slower IF surface than he had at the Trop, so he will lose some BABIP on GB. His hit charts have his FB power to RF, and Fenways RF is deeper than the Trop. He hits a lot of balls to LF, but mostly GB and LD, so he can't take advantage of the wall without changing his approach. Also, LF'ers can play shallow at Fenway so he may lose some hits on LD's to LF. On defense Crawford looks a bit wall shy, which is not a good thing at Fenway. Also, his arm is not very good, or accurate. Manny and Jason bay throw better than CC.

That said, I look at Crawfords stance and I think Curtis Granderson. Close the stance, lower the hands, and watch the HR's fly.
Also, he could pick up some tips from Gonzo about how to hit long FB to LF.

I think Crawford will be fine, but in the back of my mind I am thinking Jason Bay. I never imagined that Bay would be as bad as he is with the Mets after watching him destroy pitching with the Red Sox (and it was not all about Fenway, he hit more HR on the road, and when he hit them, they went 400+ ft). Hope that does not happen to CC.
   57. Fancy Pants Handle doesn't need no water Posted: May 21, 2011 at 10:07 AM (#3834189)
I actually just cleaned up his Wiki page. It had him pitching for the Tulsa Oilers in 2010. A team that hasn't existed since 1976 or so.

*whitsles X-files theme*

I actually noticed he existed in April, I think when Detroit was playing the Yanks. I was stunned I had never heard of a guy with such an awesome name...
   58. Lassus Posted: May 21, 2011 at 01:34 PM (#3834214)
Papelbon has been, as usual, terrible this year.

Heh.
   59. Jim Wisinski Posted: May 21, 2011 at 01:35 PM (#3834216)
On defense Crawford looks a bit wall shy


Crawford has never been a crash into the wall guy. Not a great diver either though occasionally he'll pull off a real spectacular one.
   60. Rafael Bellylard: A failure of the waist. Posted: May 21, 2011 at 02:05 PM (#3834225)
I haven't watched a lot of game this year due to my work schedule, but Crawford seems unusually adept at holding balls off the wall to a single. A good skill to have at Fenway.

I think he'll be fine.
   61. It's just Steve Posted: May 21, 2011 at 02:15 PM (#3834229)
I can't help but be concerned about Crawford; when they signed him I thought, "he's going to be damn fun to watch for the first half of the contract, but I'm not looking forward to the end." Having a lost year upfront is really unfortunate.

In any case, I think this will be another interesting off-season. With Drew's spot vacanat and Kalish not hitting (I'm not convinced Josh Reddick will ever hit enough to carry a corner) might they be dipping into FA? Then, there's the whole question of catcher and shortstop going forward... (Oh, and DH!).
   62. John DiFool2 Posted: May 21, 2011 at 03:58 PM (#3834257)
No. He's been awful.


Umm wha? His K and BB numbers approximate his 2007/08 peak (the improvement in control is heartening by itself). Once the BABIP normalizes (.362 vs. .287 career), he should be pretty kickass. Note I was one of his biggest critics last year, but I have to give the psycho essobee some credit for unfucking himself.
   63. Joe Bivens, Minor Genius Posted: May 27, 2011 at 11:58 PM (#3839771)
Ahem.
   64. dave h Posted: May 28, 2011 at 04:18 AM (#3839935)
Yeah, how are there not more posts on this thread recently? Is this what they call "moot"?
   65. Dale Sams Posted: May 28, 2011 at 04:29 AM (#3839937)
(whistles)
   66. PJ Martinez Posted: May 28, 2011 at 05:06 AM (#3839946)
Having a lost year upfront is really unfortunate.

Or, you know, a lost month, either one.

Crawford in May: .354/.510
   67. villageidiom Posted: May 28, 2011 at 05:32 AM (#3839948)
Yeah, how are there not more posts on this thread recently? Is this what they call "moot"?
Yeah.

I'm back from a self-imposed ban. A month ago I posted something in haste that was so colossally stupid, even for my own standards, that I figured I needed to take a break. Of course, I'm going to follow it up with selective endpoints...

For the time I've been gone, Crawford's slash line is 355/520/875. So, yeah, moot. His recent career numbers and his preseason ZiPS suggest this is roughly in line - but slightly higher - than we should expect. As MCoA has pointed out upthread, his awful start will likely keep him from coming close to any reasonable preseason projection for the full year; but let's enjoy the Good Carl while we have him. (And the Good Wake, too.)

As I type this, the Yankees/Mariners game has ended, which means Boston is alone in first place by a game. In three weeks they've gone from last place to first place. This is a steamroller of a team, 27-12 in their last 39 games (selective endpoints!). If they keep playing at that pace - they won't - they'd be around 106 wins at the end of the year despite their 2-10 start. That 27-12 stretch includes 16-4 against teams that are, right now, leading or in 2nd place in their divisions (Cleveland, Detroit, NY, Oakland, Los Anaheim). The team is 2nd in the AL in wins.

Maybe the Bruins have me extra euphoric, and maybe it's way past my bedtime. But this team rocks, and Crawford is a big part of why.
   68. Infinite Joost (Voxter) Posted: May 28, 2011 at 09:24 AM (#3839965)
All alone in first place. Weird feeling, eh?
   69. Drew (Primakov, Gungho Iguanas) Posted: June 20, 2011 at 07:57 PM (#3857965)
Crawford's OBPs by month: .204, .328, .298. Gah.
   70. Dale Sams Posted: July 03, 2011 at 03:32 PM (#3868312)
I don't think I've seen anyone say anything yet about how ominous it is that a guy whose main component is speed, is out 4-5 weeks with the least-graded hamstring pull? There's no way, IMO, that Crawford even sniffs JD Drew's 'kid in a bodycast' year.
   71. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: July 03, 2011 at 05:22 PM (#3868343)
Crawford has been out for two weeks and is expected back soon last I read. Is there an update on his condition?.
   72. Dale Sams Posted: July 03, 2011 at 05:27 PM (#3868347)
Last I heard a few days ago, Crawford said he was at 50%.

What I want to know is where are the Lowrie updates?
   73. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: July 03, 2011 at 05:30 PM (#3868350)
The Herald had this today:

HOUSTON — After a return to action tomorrow by Carl Crawford was ruled out yesterday, the prospect of him returning before the All-Star break is not looking real bright either.

(Link)
   74. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: July 05, 2011 at 08:52 PM (#3869361)
PeteAbe has this in the notes today;

Carl Crawford took batting practice and ran the bases. He seems to be only a few days away.


Do with that what you will.
   75. Dale Sams Posted: July 05, 2011 at 09:05 PM (#3869368)
a lot more upside than DMac for sure, and maybe they'll release D, forcing Tito to use Reddick when nessecery.
   76. Darren Posted: July 25, 2011 at 12:47 AM (#3884495)
It amazing how widely and consistently bad he's been:

Defense: bad
BA: bad
OBP: bad
SLG: bad
Baserunning: bad

Maybe he's turning it around, but wow.
   77. Xander Posted: July 25, 2011 at 01:18 AM (#3884502)
Weird bump.
   78. Joel W Posted: July 25, 2011 at 02:21 AM (#3884514)
He was terrible in April. He's been above average to good since. His splits are severe.
   79. Darren Posted: July 25, 2011 at 02:28 AM (#3884518)
I agree it's an odd bump. It was inspired by the fact that every time Crawford goes on a little run, I look at his numbers and they are still terrible. I mean, how is it possible that he is managing to be bad at everything this year, and staying that way (overall)? A strong finish t the season would make him like .270/.310/.410 with 25 steals and below average defense. That's incredible.
   80. Joel W Posted: July 25, 2011 at 02:35 AM (#3884522)
His defense isn't below average on fangraphs and he lost a month that would've stabilized his numbers more
   81. Darren Posted: July 25, 2011 at 02:51 AM (#3884528)
To your eye, does his fangraphs number or his BBref number look right? To me, BBRef has looked most accurate.

I'm not sure what the argument here is, though. I certainly agree that he's played better. But it's not the kind of better that will get him anywhere near being the player he's been for years. He's not, for example, doing a David Ortiz 2010 or a Pedroia 2011 (and other years too). He's gone from way below expectations to meeting expectations. That's a bummer. I guess I'm just frustrated because I keep waiting for the big hot streak. Maybe this will be it?
   82. Ray (RDP) Posted: July 25, 2011 at 03:03 AM (#3884531)
The bottom line is that they signed a 29 year old good-but-not-great player coming off a career year to a mega deal. No, I didn't expect he'd be this bad, either -- and I think he'll probably have some good years here -- but this was a big overpay.

He's hitting at career lows in BA/OBP/SLG, and his speed is down also. He's not walking because he doesn't walk. He's at replacement level now, and he'll have to play the best baseball of his career over the next two months just to finish with a half-decent 2 WAR. It's a problem.

And it's not all that surprising, to me, that his defense fell off going to Fenway. The small left field caps his defensive value. As some of us pointed out at the time of the signing.
   83. Joel W Posted: July 25, 2011 at 04:31 AM (#3884563)
I guess the argument is more with ray's position than yours Darren, though I think your expectation is that players will violate the gambler's falacy again and again.

I think Crawford was atrocious in April and clearly psychologically messed up given the new situation. It reminds me ablot of Beltran's first season in new York and also arod's. I basically think for the rest of the season and the next 5 years they'll have the 5-6 WAR guy they thought they were getting. He's at replacement level now ray because he was over a win below it in April and missed a month of play. It's not particularly a "problem" because the sox are going to win 100 games and I have no reason to think that Crawford will be different than the guy we have right now rather than the one we got in April for the rest of the contract.

As to his defense and my eye, my eye is an idiot but my Bayesian priors suggest that he's a good defender.
   84. Darren Posted: July 25, 2011 at 12:54 PM (#3884626)
I guess the argument is more with ray's position than yours Darren, though I think your expectation is that players will violate the gambler's falacy again and again....
I think Crawford was atrocious in April and clearly psychologically messed up given the new situation. It reminds me ablot of Beltran's first season in new York and also arod's. I basically think for the rest of the season and the next 5 years they'll have the 5-6 WAR guy they thought they were getting...


Aren't you also engaging the gambler's fallacy that you're talking about here? Despite the fact that Crawford's projection now calls for him to be worse than the player they were getting, you think he'll be just as good.

For my part, I don't think it's a fallacy. Players are not coin flips. They have hot streaks and cold streaks as they make adjustments. If a player is a .300/.400/.500 hitter, then goes .200/.250/.300 for a month, it's reasonable to expect that he'll make up for it a bit in the following month when he adjusts/gets healthy/etc. Nothing to do with expecting luck to equal out.

What's more, my previous didn't say I expected Crawford to have an Ortiz/Pedroia resurgence, only that the lack of one meant he wasn't going to have a decent year (although I guess I was pretty unclear, looking back).
   85. Ray (RDP) Posted: July 25, 2011 at 01:03 PM (#3884630)
I basically think for the rest of the season and the next 5 years they'll have the 5-6 WAR guy they thought they were getting. He's at replacement level now ray because he was over a win below it in April and missed a month of play.


There was never any reason to think they were getting a 5-6 WAR guy. He reached that level once, in his career year, and players don't generally repeat their career years year after year, especially not as they head into their 30s.
   86. Ron J Posted: July 25, 2011 at 01:27 PM (#3884651)
#85 Lord knows I've said it often enough, but a simple rule for signing free agents. Discard his best year.

I'm totally serious. The guys you really want don't need their best year to stand out.
   87. Fly should without a doubt be number !!!!! Posted: July 25, 2011 at 01:52 PM (#3884665)
Aren't you also engaging the gambler's fallacy that you're talking about here? Despite the fact that Crawford's projection now calls for him to be worse than the player they were getting, you think he'll be just as good.

Aren't his projections completely meaningless?

I mean, he was projected to be very good. He's been bad. We can either accept the projections, and end the conversation, or we can discuss that the projections might be wrong. Any time a player has a bad stretch, the projections will reflect that, but that doesn't mean they're right.
   88. Mattbert Posted: July 25, 2011 at 02:03 PM (#3884679)
The bottom line is that they signed a 29 year old good-but-not-great player coming off a career year to a mega deal. No, I didn't expect he'd be this bad, either -- and I think he'll probably have some good years here -- but this was a big overpay.

I don't disagree. I didn't hate this signing from day one like Lackey, but inking Crawford to that kind of contract definitely made me nervous.
   89. Joel W Posted: July 25, 2011 at 02:12 PM (#3884686)
Aren't you also engaging the gambler's fallacy that you're talking about here? Despite the fact that Crawford's projection now calls for him to be worse than the player they were getting, you think he'll be just as good.


I think that we have good reason to dismiss the first month of this season as a complete aberration, and that it was clear he was pressing and wasn't the guy they signed, and therefore good reason to think that it shouldn't factor in to our projection for the rest of the contract. This is obviously debatable, but it's where I'm coming from and why I don't think I'm committing a gambler's fallacy.

For my part, I don't think it's a fallacy. Players are not coin flips. They have hot streaks and cold streaks as they make adjustments.


So do you think that the cold streak plus adjustment typically leads to above (personal) average production going forward? I could buy that. I'm not sure if I think it's true, but I could definitely buy it.

There was never any reason to think they were getting a 5-6 WAR guy. He reached that level once, in his career year, and players don't generally repeat their career years year after year, especially not as they head into their 30s.


Carl Crawford's WAR since 22: 5.1, 4.8, 4.8, 3.3, 2.8 (in 100 games), 5.8, 7.5. But sure, he reached 5-6 once. And it's not like his BABIP was otherworldly in 2009-2010 or anything.

#85 Lord knows I've said it often enough, but a simple rule for signing free agents. Discard his best year.

I'm totally serious. The guys you really want don't need their best year to stand out.


This is silly. There's good reason to regress peak season, but to discard it completely is silly.
   90. Joel W Posted: July 25, 2011 at 02:19 PM (#3884691)
@85 Sorry shouldn't have been so snooty. I was looking at Fangraphs WAR and you were likely looking at BBREF WAR, which disagree quite a bit on Crawford.
   91. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: July 25, 2011 at 02:22 PM (#3884692)
One thing about signing Crawford that I think played into the Sox' mindset was the lack of options. Go back to December and we were looking at;

J.D. Drew entering the final year of his deal

A free agent class with Carlos Beltran coming off two injury plagued seasons and entering his mid-30s, possible one hit wonder Jose Bautista and Josh Willingham

A minor league system with Ryan Kalish who looked good but projects as Trot Nixon at best and Josh Reddick coming off a pretty forgettable season

Jacoby Ellsbury coming off a lost year

The fact is the Sox were heading into 2011 with the delightful combination of neither short term nor long term certainty in the outfield. A team with the Sox' financial means arguably should be overspending to avoid a black hole in the lineup particularly when options appeared limited. Now of course, seven months later Jacoby Ellsbury actually has turned into Grady Sizemore (the good one) and Josh Reddick has rebounded with a terrific season and the outfield suddenly looks pretty strong.

But back in December it was quite possible that even a 3.5 WAR Carl Crawford would be the best Red Sox outfielder in 2011 and beyond.
   92. Ray (RDP) Posted: July 25, 2011 at 03:28 PM (#3884746)
I think that we have good reason to dismiss the first month of this season as a complete aberration, and that it was clear he was pressing and wasn't the guy they signed, and therefore good reason to think that it shouldn't factor in to our projection for the rest of the contract. This is obviously debatable, but it's where I'm coming from and why I don't think I'm committing a gambler's fallacy.


I don't see why a lost month of play should be completely disregarded, rather than just factoring it in to our projections going forward. Nobody thinks a horrid month means that he completely lost the ability to play baseball; it's just part of the last X years (3 or whatever) that people typically use in their projections.

I also don't put any weight on "he was pressing" theories in general. I mean, it's possible, but we have no clue, and everything we know about MLB players tells us that they are perfectly capable of handling pressure, in all forms. If you couldn't predict in March that he was likely to have a bad April because he would press, I can't put any weight in your analysis now. It's all post hoc.

@85 Sorry shouldn't have been so snooty. I was looking at Fangraphs WAR and you were likely looking at BBREF WAR, which disagree quite a bit on Crawford.


No worries. Yeah, I was looking at bb-ref WAR.
   93. Fernigal McGunnigle has become a merry hat Posted: July 25, 2011 at 08:46 PM (#3884993)
I just noticed the follwing in the BBRef section on Crawford's contract and wondered if anyone could make any sense of it:

no trade protection: Crawford may block deals to two clubs; Boston may block deal to one club (NY Yankees)


This is interesting. My guess is that this exists so that if Boston trades Crawford to the Marlins, the Marlins can't then trade Crawford (without Boston's permission) to the Yankees over the life of the contract. I've never heard of this being done before and have to wonder if this is legal under MLB's rules. It's certainly devious.
   94. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: July 25, 2011 at 08:56 PM (#3885004)
This is interesting. My guess is that this exists so that if Boston trades Crawford to the Marlins, the Marlins can't then trade Crawford (without Boston's permission) to the Yankees over the life of the contract. I've never heard of this being done before and have to wonder if this is legal under MLB's rules. It's certainly devious.


Yeah, I remember when they signed him that was part of the deal. My recollection was it was an AL East clause but I'd trust Cot's over my addled mind.
   95. Dan Posted: July 26, 2011 at 06:13 AM (#3885515)
Crawford truly embarrassed himself tonight (again). Yesterday he looked great, taking the ball to the opposite field for liners and ground ball singles. Tonight he looked like he'd never seen a breaking ball in his life. And he struck out 4 times in 6 ABs (yes he got kind of screwed on a check swing call but he had a miserable AB anyway and probably was going to K on the next pitch regardless). He couldn't get a hit to end the game in his 2 chances in extras, or even a sacrifice fly in the first chance he had. He ended up with a -.444 WPA on the night. That's pretty impressive when you consider that singlehandedly losing a game would be -.5 WPA.

I was so excited when I read on Twitter that the Sox signed Crawford. I didn't even know if it was believable. Getting Crawford mere days after trading for Gonzalez seemed like a coup!

And now here we are in July and it's hard to remember those feelings without thinking they occurred in a different universe.
   96. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: July 26, 2011 at 02:11 PM (#3885641)
Since May 1st (yay, selective endpoints!) he's hitting .296/.322/.459. I'd like a bit more OBP but that's about a 115 OPS+ I think which is pretty consistent with his track record. I can't quite grasp what happened to his walk rate this year though.
   97. Joel W Posted: July 26, 2011 at 03:32 PM (#3885707)
He really did look awful last night, but I'm basically with Jose. As long as the defense is there (which it wasn't last night but I have no reason to think it won't be) and the baserunning (same), then, well, he'll be just fine even if he looks ugly some times. I didn't watch him in Tampa enough to know if he'd do this, where he looks alternatively great and awful.
   98. Dale Sams Posted: July 26, 2011 at 03:50 PM (#3885715)
Whats he hitting since June 1st?
   99. Joel W Posted: July 26, 2011 at 04:05 PM (#3885728)
.286/.315/.429 in 21 games. Since he got back from his injury in the 7 games he's at .300/.344/.367.

Those are both above average numbers given the offensive context of the year, and below average for left.
   100. Infinite Joost (Voxter) Posted: July 26, 2011 at 04:23 PM (#3885735)
Since 25 July, he's hitting 000 / 000 / 000!

The funny thing about this team is, good as it's been, it could have been better. Can you imagine how many wins the Sox would have if the outfield corners had performed even remotely up to expectations?
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