Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Season Preview Number Two

As we make our way through the previews of the Red Sox line-up, we come to the second spot in the order. This is another spot in the order up for much debate. I, myself, have flipped back and forth on just who should bat here almost daily. For today, I’m going with Carl Crawford. Yes, I know. Chances are that his injury won’t let him start the season here. But, I’m confident he will be the Red Sox leftfielder for a vast majority of the season. Why am I putting him in the two spot? Just a gut.

There may not be a bigger question mark on the Sox than what will become of Carl Crawford. He was signed to a mega deal last year, and never given a chance here in Boston. Almost instantly, the contract was questioned. How could they give $20 million to a guy who never hit 20 home runs? It was a crazy statement to make. I’d have to check the numbers, but I don’t believe CC Sabathia has ever hit 20 home runs. Do any Yankees fans think he’s not worth $20 million? So, isn’t it clear that there are other ways to be worth the money without hitting homers? And, frankly, I’m surprised to hear those comments coming out of Boston. One of the big points of discussion when Bobby Valentine was a potential manager was how would handle the “new statistics.” His use of numbers was a key factor. Would he trust the new stats that were floating around out there? Why, then, were these same people so quick to downplay Crawford because of his lack of classic stats? It didn’t make any sense. With that beginning, Crawford didn’t help himself with his performance. He struggled right out of the gate. He was almost instantly put at the bottom of the order. A demotion that didn’t sit well with him. Nor should it. He was already under fire. Now, he’s stuck in the seven spot. He was trying to hit a three run home every time he strode to the plate. I never understood the idea of putting a player down in the order to take the pressure off. If I’m struggling, and someone demotes me…isn’t that worse? So, not only do I know I’m struggling, but my boss thinks so too. I would think it would double the pressure…not remove it. It certainly seems to be the case with Crawford. It just spiraled from there.

Hopefully, with a season under his belt, he can relax and go back to being Carl Crawford. Really, he has nothing to lose. He’s had the awful season. He can only go up from here. The pressure should be off simply because the media doesn’t expect anything from him any more. If Crawford goes 0-4 in an Opening Day loss, he won’t be the story. He won’t be the side story. He’ll just be there. That should be a nice relief for him. So, what does this mean for his production? Well, if I expect Jacoby Ellsbury to drop off a bit, I expect Crawford to make up for it. I imagine that the totals from the left-center fielders will be about what they were last year. I’ll take that.

As for numbers? Let’s go with

BA: .290
R: 95
HR: 15
RBI: 75
SB: 45
OBP: .345

I bet not all of it will be from the 2-hole.

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