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Crawford's slow start: It's nothing new


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#1 mabrowndog


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Posted 17 April 2011 - 03:44 PM

Crawford's ugly lead-off at-bat today -- taking two the first two pitches down the middle of the plate before flailing helplessly at strike three -- was emblematic of his early struggles. But as the global furor over his stumbling out of the gates intensifies with each passing plate appearance, some perspective is in order.

It's happened before.

* In 2006, he started out 10-for-44 with no extra-base hits in his first 11 games, a .227/.306/.227/.533 clip.

* In 2008, Crawford began 10-for-49 with no extra-base hits in his first 11 games for a .204/.236/.208/.444 line.

* In 2009, after going 4-for-8 in his first two games (at Fenway), he was just 9-for-50 in his next 12 games. His collective ratios to start the year: .222/.250/.333/.583 with 15 strikeouts and just one walk.
As we all know, things turned out just fine.

* In 2006, Crawford broke out with an 8-for-13 stretch over 3 games vs the Royals and Red Sox. From April 15 on, he hit .311/.352/.502/.854, but along the way he endured three 1-for-14 stretches and a 1-for-22 slump. Final line: .305/.348/.482/.830

* In 2008, he woke up by hitting in 12 straight games going 22-for-53, a .415/.407/.660/1.068 stretch. That raised his overall line to .314/.324/.441/.765 by April 25. He did regress from that lofty level, but he was hampered by a finger injury that cost him 43 games down the stretch. He didn't bat once after August 9. Again, he had several other bumpy runs: Three 1-for-12s, Two 1-for 14s, a 1-for-18 and a 1-for-28. FInal line: .273/.319/.400/.718

* In 2009, Carl rose from the dead by going 10-for-20 over his next 5 games. Like a broken record, other droughts came and went throughout the year: 1-for-12, 1-for-14, 3-for-30 and 3-for-37. Despite those cold spells, Crawford hit .314/.376/.467/.843 from April 22 on. Final line: .305/.364/.452/.816
So here we are, having seen him rack yet another 0-fer today that dropped his average to .127. It's been incredibly frustrating to watch him as he presses harder and harder, growing more and more impatient (especially bad for a guy not prone to working deep counts in the first place). And this year's abysmal beginning has clearly been far worse than the others cited above. All our fuming is compounded by the struggles of the rest of the team in just about every facet of the game.

But we're still talking about a player who, other than that injury-shortened 2008 campaign, has hit at least .296, had a minimum OBP of .331, and slugged .450 or greater in every single year since 2004 inclusive. I have no idea how much longer we'll have to go before Hot Carl shows up, or how many other mid-season slumps we'll have to witness, but I have a feeling it'll all be well worth it.

Like I said, it's happened before.

Edited by mabrowndog, 17 April 2011 - 03:48 PM.


#2 BosRedSox5


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Posted 17 April 2011 - 08:01 PM

I'm not sure why that makes me feel a little better, but it does a little. It's hard to look at a guy who looks so totally an utterly lost as Crawford does and assume he's going to snap out of his funk. It's especially difficult to imagine it when he's misplaying balls in left that Manny Ramirez would probably catch easily. He's been great the last couple years, and he seems talented enough to put up numbers as good as those or better as he hits his peak but it's easy for fans to remember how bad he was in 2008, injury and all.

Hopefully you're right though. I suspect the Sox go through a period of absolutely smashing the baseball around the diamond while Crawford endures a couple more weak performances, the pressure will eventually be off and he'll go on a tear that keeps the team flying high.

#3 OilCanShotTupac


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Posted 17 April 2011 - 08:40 PM

There was a telling moment in today's game. Hill lined out to Crawford for the third out of the inning with a runner on first - and Crawford immediately set himself to throw back into the infield.

He didn't realize that he had caught the third out. He didn't know how many outs there were.

He currently has head-up-ass-itis. Whether he's out of it because he's pressing, or he's pressing because he's out of it, is a chicken-and-egg question. But his mental state is clearly not where it needs to be.

It's good to know he's had slow starts before.

#4 BucketOBalls


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Posted 17 April 2011 - 08:57 PM

What's weird is that he was good in Spring training in those years
2006: 876 OPS
2008: 950 OPS
2009: 821 OPS

This year he was terrible (536 OPS, career low actually), so that's different. He was terrible in ST last year also though.

I don't think it means anything, but it's interesting.

#5 d.ro.ho

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Posted 17 April 2011 - 09:05 PM

Crawford has a "diary" post up on ESPN today (link). A section relevant to this thread:

I haven't started off at the plate they way I'd like to. The issues have been my timing and I've been doing some stuff with my stance. I'm just trying to get back to swinging the bat the way I normally swing it. So I've been tinkering with stuff and going by trial and error right now. I don't usually have a slow start to a season. I've been working with my hitting coach [Dave Magadan] . We go down in the cage and work on some things and watch a little video. He might show me a picture that he had of my stance. We just go over stuff. I wish I knew what was wrong because if I knew I would definitely would be on top of it fixing it right now. Instead, I'm a little off right now, but I'm not going to try and stop figuring it out.



#6 DukeSox


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Posted 17 April 2011 - 10:19 PM

Well that quote is about the opposite of confidence-inspiring.

#7 wutang112878


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Posted 17 April 2011 - 10:25 PM

I have a feeling the weight of the contract and expectations are playing a role in this right now. Once we get to 100ish at bats I think we see the real Crawford.

#8 Infield Infidel


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Posted 17 April 2011 - 10:38 PM

some relevant post from the game thread

His GB/LD/FB rates are identical to last year's. This can't go on.



Fenways IF likely plays slower than the Trops turf, so fewer GB may go through (143 BA on GB vs 318 last year). He hits a lot of LD to LF and may be losing some hits at Fenway as LF'ers can play shallower (333 BA on 6 LD vs 797 last year).. RF is deeper than at the trop, so we likely loses some HR at Fenway as his FB power is to RF. I don't see he has much FB power to LF based on his hit charts from LF, so he may not be able to take advantage of the wall. Obviously, some improvement should be expected with regard to outcome on GB and LD, but it's very possible his BABIP takes a hit this year due to park.



#9 LogansDad


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Posted 18 April 2011 - 06:00 AM

Fenways IF likely plays slower than the Trops turf, so fewer GB may go through (143 BA on GB vs 318 last year). He hits a lot of LD to LF and may be losing some hits at Fenway as LF'ers can play shallower (333 BA on 6 LD vs 797 last year).. RF is deeper than at the trop, so we likely loses some HR at Fenway as his FB power is to RF. I don't see he has much FB power to LF based on his hit charts from LF, so he may not be able to take advantage of the wall. Obviously, some improvement should be expected with regard to outcome on GB and LD, but it's very possible his BABIP takes a hit this year due to park.


When I first saw this I thought it couldn't possibly be true, as I can remember all the years of Crawford giving us fits. Looking at his stats on B-Ref, though, there may be something to this. In 367 Plate Appearances in Fenway, Carl has a .288/.385/.674 line, well below his career line of .336/.441/.777. Obviously small sample size applies, but it is interesting to think about going forward.

#10 OttoC


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Posted 18 April 2011 - 06:41 AM

...Looking at his stats on B-Ref, though, there may be something to this. In 367 Plate Appearances in Fenway, Carl has a .288/.385/.674 line, well below his career line...

He is no longer facing Red Sox pitchers, so how do you tell how much of it is a park effect and how much is a pitching staff effect?

#11 Kevin Jewkilis

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Posted 18 April 2011 - 08:09 AM

He is no longer facing Red Sox pitchers, so how do you tell how much of it is a park effect and how much is a pitching staff effect?


He didn't have any trouble hitting Red Sox pitching in Tampa Bay:

Crawford, Career numbers in Fenway vs. Red Sox (338 PA): 275/301/406
Crawford, Career numbers in TB vs. Red Sox (301 PA): 327/362/482

#12 judyb

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Posted 18 April 2011 - 08:42 AM

He hit .324/.350/.432 and .342/.350/.500 at Fenway the last 2 seasons, and .353/.371/.588 and .342/.375/.526 there in '06 and '05. He was awful there in '08, like almost everywhere else, and in '07, when the Sox had the best pitching and defense in the league. His overall home/road and grass/turf splits the last few years don't indicate someone who's particularly dependent on turf to get hits.

#13 Maalox


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Posted 18 April 2011 - 08:56 AM

No objective analysis is needed. The problem is clearly mental and obvious to the naked eye. He's tight as a fucking tom-tom out there. You can't hit if you're not loose. You just can't.

Presumably he went into the season looking to justify the contract. And presumably the team's horrible start made that worse, got him thinking either that the bad start was his fault or that he had to turn the team around single-handedly. These are not things you can see - I'm just guessing. You clearly can see he's tight though. He can barely get the bat off his shoulder, he's thinking three different thoughts between the moment the pitcher releases and the the moment ball crosses the plate. God only knows how much shit is clogging his mind in between pitches.

This stuff happens to everybody once in a while. Except maybe Ted Williams. What Crawford needs is to stop thinking about it, and for the team to start winning so he doesn't go off thinking it's all on him. Basically just loosen the Hell up. I don't think it's any more complicated than that. If you could ask Magadan I bet he'd say the real purpose of all that work is just to make Crawford feel like he's doing something about the problem, on the theory that that will get him to relax.

If it weren't for the drug atmosphere in baseball these days I'd actually think a little weed might be worth a shot. Maybe a hooker. The guy just needs to relax.

#14 mabrowndog


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Posted 18 April 2011 - 10:29 AM

This stuff happens to everybody once in a while. Except maybe Ted Williams.


In 1939, he had stretches of 1/30, 2/21, 1/14, 3/29 and 2/22. That's a collective 9-for-116 (.078). He finished his rookie year with a .327/.436/.609/1.045 line.

In 1940, he started out 5/28 in his first 8 games. He broke out going 18/32 with 8 XBH. Later slumps included 2/25, 2/22 and 3/19. Ted wound up at .344/.442/.594/1.036.

In 1941, he had stretches of 3/18, 3/16, 3/16, 1/10, 2/13, 0/11 and 2/16 on the way to the greatest season a batter has ever had for this club (.406/.553/.735/1.287).

I offer the above not to prove your second sentence wrong, but to illustrate that your first sentence is 100% correct.

#15 The Hit Dog

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Posted 18 April 2011 - 12:13 PM

Crawford is currently sporting a robust .156 BABIP (that is before today's 0-3 [so far] with no Ks). As someone mentioned above, with a batted ball profile that hasn't changed significantly from last year, some balls are bound to start dropping in/dribbling through.

Anecdotally, though, he hasn't seemed to drive the ball with any authority. He's been robbed a few times, but rarely has he been robbed of an XBH (that I've seen anyway). Also troubling is the walk total (2). The sample size is small, but it's getting bigger with every 0-5.

Edit: And as I post he whacks one off the Monster. Hmm....

Edited by The Hit Dog, 18 April 2011 - 12:14 PM.


#16 OttoC


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Posted 18 April 2011 - 12:46 PM

...
Edit: And as I post he whacks one off the Monster. Hmm....

He got good wood on the ball the bat before, too.

#17 mabrowndog


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Posted 18 April 2011 - 01:14 PM

He got good wood on the ball the bat before, too.

His final out today was a rocket up the middle that caromed off the pitcher and right to the second baseman.

Definitely a combination of severe snakebite and the world's largest panini press.



#18 Rasputin


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Posted 18 April 2011 - 01:33 PM

But finally in this game there are signs of him pulling out of it.

I think he's going to bust out on this trip.

#19 JMDurron

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Posted 18 April 2011 - 01:37 PM

But finally in this game there are signs of him pulling out of it.

I think he's going to bust out on this trip.


Hopefully, Francona does not bump him back up to the leadoff spot on the roadtrip. He's clearly pressing, and adding the pressure of the 1st spot in the lineup can't help anyway. I would be perfectly fine with Crawford batting 6th-7th for the rest of the season. This has been the only decision Francona has repeatedly made this season that I have strongly disagreed with.

#20 Savin Hillbilly


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Posted 18 April 2011 - 03:09 PM

Hopefully, Francona does not bump him back up to the leadoff spot on the roadtrip. He's clearly pressing, and adding the pressure of the 1st spot in the lineup can't help anyway. I would be perfectly fine with Crawford batting 6th-7th for the rest of the season. This has been the only decision Francona has repeatedly made this season that I have strongly disagreed with.


I'm really hoping he sticks with today's lineup for awhile. I think the leadoff spot plays to Drew's strengths, and I really like sandwiching Crawford with switch-hitters in the 7th spot to minimize the impact of his issues with LHP.

#21 JMDurron

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Posted 18 April 2011 - 03:25 PM

I'm really hoping he sticks with today's lineup for awhile. I think the leadoff spot plays to Drew's strengths, and I really like sandwiching Crawford with switch-hitters in the 7th spot to minimize the impact of his issues with LHP.


I'd flip Drew and Lowrie, honestly, since I believe Drew is another member of the "But I don't wanna hit leadoff!" club, but ultimately it's not a huge deal. The only reason that I think Crawford, specifically, is a big deal is because I think he is taking that spot in the order as additional pressure on himself, and it is making his results even worse than they would be otherwise.

#22 mabrowndog


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Posted 25 April 2011 - 08:09 PM

Rob Bradford had a piece today on Crawford's signs of breaking out, which primarily dealt with the issues a change of scenery can bring after being with one organization (or setting) for so long. In it he mentions the similar struggles Vernon Wells is having with the Angels, and also brings up Pedroia. The article includes input from Don Kalkstein, a former mental performance coach with the Red Sox who now works for the NBA's Dallas Mavericks.

I think there's a lot of credence to the theory that such changes (as well as one's desires to prove he belongs or is worth the investment) can play a huge role in such slumps. A number of players who've changed teams in the midst of their career peaks have taken some time to put up the expected impressive numbers in the new laundry.

* A-Rod signed his mega-deal with Texas prior to the 2001 season. Though he didn't struggle to nearly the same extent as Crawford, an 8-for-33 start (.242) with 9 Ks and a 333 slugging average wasn't exactly the sort of start to justify a 10-year, $252 million contract.

* That same season, Johnny Damon debuted for Oakland after being traded following 9 years in the KC organization. Each of his four slash stats had steadily improved year-to-year over his 5 full seasons with the Royals, from .271/.313/.368/.680 in 1996 to .327/.382/.495/.877 in 2000. His start with the A's was abysmal and protracted. It began with a robust 2-for-21. By his 14th game he boasted a .175/.266/.193/.459 line. And by May 20 he was still hitting .203/.267/.289/.556. Over his next 99 games he put up .285/.352/.416/.768 numbers.

* Scott Rolen was traded to St. Louis midway through 2002. At the time of the deal he was hitting .259/.358/.472/.830 with 17 HR through 100 games. In his first 11 games for the Cards he went 6-for-40 with 3 walks (.150/.209/.200/.409) and a -.392 WPA.

There are plenty of other examples, but I think the point's been made.

Edited by mabrowndog, 25 April 2011 - 08:13 PM.


#23 Eric Van


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Posted 26 April 2011 - 02:46 AM

There are plenty of other examples, but I think the point's been made.

Carlos Beltran OPS+:

132
132
96 <- First year with Mets, post-free agency.
150
125
129
144

It's a different sort of comp because he was hitting .316 / .370 / .519 on May 9 and then went .252 / .318 / .383 the rest of the way. But it's what I always think of when it comes to guys putting pressure on themselves to justify a big FA contract for a big market team -- and then being perfectly OK.

#24 geoduck no quahog


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Posted 26 April 2011 - 05:46 AM

Crawford is now 14/82.

If he reverts to anything like himself over the course of a full season, here's how he projects:

- Let's assume a career-worst BA of .270
- Let's assume a total of 600 ab's

That puts him at 148/518 the rest of the way, or ~.285

That's how I try to look at a long season. Crawford hitting .285 from here on out is wholly plausible - more plausible than him hitting like a catcher. What's interesting to me is that if he reverts back to TB averages (say .295), he would be holding 163 hits in reserve and bat .315 from here to the end of the season (that's only 15 more hits than a .270 season).

He's definitely got some hits banked, waiting for the important part of the season.

#25 Eric Van


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Posted 26 April 2011 - 08:46 AM

Is Carl out of the woods because he's 4 for his last 8, 2B, HR? No.

In 2006, as noted, he went 4-8, 2B, 3B, 2 BB against the Royals on 4/15 and 4/16. But his slump actually continued until May 21, as he went .257 / .305 / .349 in his next 121 PA (including a 2-5 on 4/17 against us, as mentioned).

He then went ... wait for it ... .386 / .409 / .709 in his next 169 PA, through July 6. At that point he was up to .323 / .363 / .524 and the memory of his numbers on May 21 -- .261 / .322 / .342 .... was faint.

He hit .285 / .331 / .434 in 303 PA the rest of the way, including .215 / .240 / .344 in 96 PA from Aug. 26 to Sept. 23. (He had a 1071 OPS in his last 6 games.)

I may look at 2008 and 2009 later, but I think the short version is: one streaky dude.

#26 SoxScout


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Posted 28 April 2011 - 06:37 AM

Posted Image

As much as it sucks for us to see him struggling, dude must be going OUT OF HIS MIND.

He has basically never been bad. He has been ok/blah for months, but that is the worst he ever gets. Then he gets insanely hot. He is ice right now.

Edited by SoxScout, 28 April 2011 - 06:40 AM.


#27 dbn

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Posted 03 May 2011 - 01:53 PM

Bump.

It seemed to me that Crawford was also a bit uncomfortable in the field at the start of the season. There were a few balls (both home and away) that he didn't go after hard that dropped, and at Fenway there were a few near the wall that he seemed unsure of how to play. This surprised me as he's been in Fenway's LF a lot in the past, and AL LFs all his career. Batters have slumps all the time, but the only non-injury reason I can think of that his fielding would be worse is that he had yet to get comfortable in his new role/team/expectations/etc.

That said, I've lately been much happier with his fielding. He's seems to be making good reads, getting good jumps, being aggressive, and has made some nice (if unspectacular) plays. Perhaps coincident with a turnaround at the plate?

I haven't seen as many games as I'd like, so these statements are highly anecdotal. Thus I'd like to hear if others agree or disagree with this assessment.

#28 Eric Van


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Posted 03 May 2011 - 06:12 PM

Bump.

It seemed to me that Crawford was also a bit uncomfortable in the field at the start of the season. There were a few balls (both home and away) that he didn't go after hard that dropped, and at Fenway there were a few near the wall that he seemed unsure of how to play. This surprised me as he's been in Fenway's LF a lot in the past, and AL LFs all his career. Batters have slumps all the time, but the only non-injury reason I can think of that his fielding would be worse is that he had yet to get comfortable in his new role/team/expectations/etc.

That said, I've lately been much happier with his fielding. He's seems to be making good reads, getting good jumps, being aggressive, and has made some nice (if unspectacular) plays. Perhaps coincident with a turnaround at the plate?

I haven't seen as many games as I'd like, so these statements are highly anecdotal. Thus I'd like to hear if others agree or disagree with this assessment.

I've seen every game and you're absolutely right.
Also, we know it's meaningless in a SSS :rolleyes:, but his UZR/150 went from something like -21 to -1 in the last week.

#29 mabrowndog


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Posted 04 May 2011 - 06:33 AM

First 18 games: 10-for-74 (.135/.190/.162/.352) with 14 Ks

Last 9 games: 11-for-34 (.324/.361/.500/.861) with 5 Ks

#30 Saints Rest

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Posted 04 May 2011 - 02:30 PM

Salty is trending upward in an encouraging fashion as well.

#31 koufax32


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Posted 04 May 2011 - 03:07 PM

Salty is trending upward in an encouraging fashion as well.


This is SoSH. We only do small doses of optimism. Ease up!!

At what point does the discussion turn to moving him higher up in the order?

Edited by koufax32, 04 May 2011 - 03:09 PM.


#32 nvalvo


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Posted 04 May 2011 - 03:48 PM

Salty is trending upward in an encouraging fashion as well.


Salty's development has been steadier than Carl's. After going 1 for the first six games, a .259 OPS, he's put up a .250/.283/.341/.624 line over his last 12 games.

That's really bad for a hitter, but only pretty bad for a catcher.

#33 Eric Van


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Posted 04 May 2011 - 04:15 PM

Salty's development has been steadier than Carl's. After going 1 for the first six games, a .259 OPS, he's put up a .250/.283/.341/.624 line over his last 12 games.

That's really bad for a hitter, but only pretty bad for a catcher.

His WPA in that stretch is -.002, which is to say league average, which is a terrific contribution to winning from your #9 hitting catcher.

He's also been much better in his last four games than his 4-15, 2 2B line (.267 / .267 / .400). There was the near grand-slam to left center that Jones robbed him of, a very hard liner hit right at Bradley off of Fister in the 2nd, a pretty well hit ball to Langerhans in the 7th off of King Felix, and a liner to Kendrick off of Haren leading off the 6th. He's been hitting the ball like he did in ST.

#34 MyDaughterLovesTomGordon

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Posted 04 May 2011 - 04:20 PM

At what point does the discussion turn to moving him higher up in the order?


Considering Pedroia's last 11 games, you have to wonder whether Tito is considering swapping Crawford and Pedey for a week.

Yes, Pedroia is slugging .136 in that time frame. You read that right.

#35 dbn

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Posted 04 May 2011 - 04:58 PM

Considering Pedroia's last 11 games, you have to wonder whether Tito is considering swapping Crawford and Pedey for a week.

Yes, Pedroia is slugging .136 in that time frame. You read that right.


But has he looked bad? (Honest question -- I've missed a lot of those 11 games.) That RBI AB against Felix was a masterpiece. If he's been taking good swings and just been unlucky, I rather not have him moved around.

#36 PrometheusWakefield


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Posted 04 May 2011 - 05:35 PM

Considering Pedroia's last 11 games, you have to wonder whether Tito is considering swapping Crawford and Pedey for a week.

Yes, Pedroia is slugging .136 in that time frame. You read that right.

I seriously doubt it. Have you seen Tito's press conferences recently? The man-love for Pedroia is overwhelming. And no, I don't think he's looked bad.

With the offense just starting to click, we should leave the lineup alone.

I'd flip Drew and Lowrie, honestly, since I believe Drew is another member of the "But I don't wanna hit leadoff!" club, but ultimately it's not a huge deal.

Drew is the only player I've ever watched who I could imagine going to the team and asking for a backup role.

Edited by PrometheusWakefield, 04 May 2011 - 05:39 PM.


#37 John DiFool

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Posted 05 May 2011 - 07:38 AM

I seriously doubt it. Have you seen Tito's press conferences recently? The man-love for Pedroia is overwhelming. And no, I don't think he's looked bad.


Pedroia does this every year around this time-then he gets hot as the weather warms up. That said, I'd sure like to see what he can do when he's hot all year.

#38 donutogre

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Posted 05 May 2011 - 09:47 AM

Crawford's batting 2nd today, per the lineup posted by Gordon Edes on Twitter, and Pedroia's got the day off. Both smart moves if you ask me.

#39 bombdiggz

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Posted 05 May 2011 - 11:09 AM

But has he looked bad? (Honest question -- I've missed a lot of those 11 games.) That RBI AB against Felix was a masterpiece. If he's been taking good swings and just been unlucky, I rather not have him moved around.


Did you see the game last night? That was the worst that I have ever seen Pedroia. He was flailing at pitches way outside the strike zone and often. The first two Ks to Santana were like that. Granted Santana had some great movement last night, but he just embarrassed Pedey. He went on to add a similar looking K later in the game. Another at bat that Pedey looked quite terrible in was the at bat to Walden, who was getting torched. With Ellsbury on first, representing the winning run, Pedey went swinging at the first pitch making weak contact and ending the inning.

I'm actually not advocating moving him, he is most comfortable in the number 2 spot and we know the kind of damage he can do, but it was rather shocking to see how bad he looked last night.

#40 dbn

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Posted 05 May 2011 - 12:37 PM

Did you see the game last night? That was the worst that I have ever seen Pedroia. He was flailing at pitches way outside the strike zone and often. The first two Ks to Santana were like that. Granted Santana had some great movement last night, but he just embarrassed Pedey. He went on to add a similar looking K later in the game. Another at bat that Pedey looked quite terrible in was the at bat to Walden, who was getting torched. With Ellsbury on first, representing the winning run, Pedey went swinging at the first pitch making weak contact and ending the inning.

I'm actually not advocating moving him, he is most comfortable in the number 2 spot and we know the kind of damage he can do, but it was rather shocking to see how bad he looked last night.


I did see the game and indeed he did not look good.

#41 KenTremendous

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Posted 19 May 2011 - 07:26 PM

Bump, because I think it's time to start obsessing over this again.

Crawford now has 162 AB on the year. 31 Ks, 7 BB. 1 HR. .204/.241/.278/.519.

In 2008, in 162 PA (142 AB), Kevin Cash, who to me was the worst hitter the Sox have ever run out there on a semi-regular basis, hit .225/.309/.338/.647 with 3 HR and 18 BB.

That's right. Kevin Cash was decidedly better in 2008 than Carl Crawford has been so far. In fact, over eight terrible seasons, his .526 OPS is better than Crawford's 2011 OPS. These are insane facts. I suppose everyone is about to tell me that it's still early, but this is a guy who had spent his entire career in this same division. These pitchers aren't new. Nor are the batting eyes.

I stopped thinking about how bad he was when he heated up for a week or so, but after a 7-37 stretch over the last ten days we're right back to square zero.

#42 TheYellowDart5


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Posted 19 May 2011 - 07:35 PM

Bump, because I think it's time to start obsessing over this again.

Crawford now has 162 AB on the year. 31 Ks, 7 BB. 1 HR. .204/.241/.278/.519.

In 2008, in 162 PA (142 AB), Kevin Cash, who to me was the worst hitter the Sox have ever run out there on a semi-regular basis, hit .225/.309/.338/.647 with 3 HR and 18 BB.

That's right. Kevin Cash was decidedly better in 2008 than Carl Crawford has been so far. In fact, over eight terrible seasons, his .526 OPS is better than Crawford's 2011 OPS. These are insane facts. I suppose everyone is about to tell me that it's still early, but this is a guy who had spent his entire career in this same division. These pitchers aren't new. Nor are the batting eyes.

I stopped thinking about how bad he was when he heated up for a week or so, but after a 7-37 stretch over the last ten days we're right back to square zero.

Quickly:

His BABIP is .248, which would be his lowest career mark by 50 points if it actually holds up.
His LD rate is roughly the same as last year.
He's swinging less and making about the same amount of contact.
He's getting annihilated by LHP (.409 OPS against so far).

You have to expect he'll get better unless there's some kind of major injury he's hiding. It really would be nice, though, to get him a better platoon partner than Mike Cameron or Darnell McDonald, both of whom have been wretched.

#43 KenTremendous

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Posted 19 May 2011 - 07:43 PM

But anecdotally: he is completely lost at the plate. He swings at any breaking ball thrown his way, no matter the location. He visibly curses himself when he Ks, which is every game. I want to believe in upward-regression and LD rates and just basic math as much as the next guy, but at some level, I worry that a lack-of-confidence spiral is playing a role, here.

(That's right. I'm talkin' intangible forces, people.)

#44 SoxScout


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Posted 19 May 2011 - 08:01 PM

Two different xBABIP methods using multiple regression have his xBABIP at .300 and .308, FWIW.

He brought his BA from .155 to .218 in 11 games, and it's dropped down to .205 in the last 5 games. Ebb and flow. When he gets hot again maybe he can get it to .240.

edit: see, 2 hits, he is ok.

Edited by SoxScout, 19 May 2011 - 09:18 PM.


#45 tims4wins


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Posted 19 May 2011 - 09:22 PM

Well done

#46 mabrowndog


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Posted 19 May 2011 - 09:33 PM

Jayson Stark via Twitter:

Disappointing a year as Carl Crawford has had, he now has more walkoff hits this month (3) than he had last 3 years combined with #Rays (2)



#47 SoxScout


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Posted 19 May 2011 - 09:37 PM

Gammons said postgame that before the game Crawford basically told reporters to screw when asked about his slump this afternoon. Said he is just going to do his thing from now on. Also said he is universally loved already in the lockerroom.

#48 mabrowndog


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Posted 19 May 2011 - 09:50 PM

First 18 games through April 22: .135/.190/.162/.352
Last 22 games since April 23: .275/.298/.385/.683

Is he where he needs to be, or where we expected him to be? Of course not. His stance still looks a little awkward, he's missing badly on certain pitches, and Lord knows he could stand to work the count for walks a bit more. But he's clearly trending in the right direction, and frankly I'd rather see him work out the kinks as a free-swinger right now.

Edited by mabrowndog, 19 May 2011 - 09:51 PM.


#49 reggiecleveland


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Posted 20 May 2011 - 11:07 PM

Since May 11

.209/.179/.388

His slugging percentage peaked at .303 that day.

While the rest of the team, including Salty was bending the Cubs over the minibar tonight Carl had a bad swing and hit weak grounder barely through the infield for his one hit. He had 20 of his 35 hits in a 13 game stretch. He has had one hot streak, but his last two weeks have been as bad as any of the year. I don't think he is where he should be.

Also my eyes tell me he is as bad as the numbers. It isn't like he is stinging the ball right at people. He is really busy with his hands and he does not look the same pitch to pitch. It has to quite difficult to run that fast and get on base so rarely.

#50 Rudy Pemberton


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Posted 20 May 2011 - 11:26 PM

He's not making good contact at all..even when he's getting hits, they seem to be grounders that are finding holes. He's been medicore defensively and on the basepaths too.

Looking at some of the fangraphs data shows that he's swinging at a lot of pitches outside the strike zone, substantially higher than league avg, but he's always done that. however, he's only swinging at 65% of pitches in the strike zone (career avg. at 72%). Everything else is pretty much at his career norms, K rate a bit higher.

I think he's just pressing, high expectations, trying to live up to the contract in a new environment, started slow, and now he's trying to make up for it in every at bat. He'll figure it out eventually, but I wonder if this will kind of be a lost year (a la Johnny Damon in Oakland; 549 OPS in April and 643 in May). Out of 190 qualified batters he currently ranks 185th in WAR (only Pierre, Ibanez, Huff, and Loney have been worse).

I don't think there's much you can do at this point, with the team winning it's not nearly as big a deal as it was before, and hopefully he has a few good games, gets some confidence back, and just gets things going.

If Crawford and Pedroia could get things going, this could be really fun.