FanPost

Carl Crawford's offensive woes.


We all know Crawford was bad offensively last year, even the pessimists such as myself expected more than the 83 wRC+ he posted last year. I am going to very briefly try to explain why he was so bad last year, and a rather vague expectation for the future.

I looked at Crawford's numbers from 2004-2011, the years where he was a good player. I did not include his first two years in the league in my study.

I was looking at Crawford's career batted ball splits (the results between grounders/fliers/liners) and I noticed that Crawford posted his second worst ever OPS on ground balls. His worst ever numbers came in 2008, when, as many of you will remember, he was almost constantly hampered by wrist and knee injuries. These numbers aren't just some sort of standard deviation with Crawford, he regularly put up roughly .600 OPS on ground balls for his career, with a couple of years approaching .700. In 2011? .487, a huge dropoff from his career rate.

Crawford may not have realized that his GB-centric approach wasn't working, as he hit as much as 66% GBs into July. That number drops off to 37% in August, and we can see an immediate improvement, as his wOBA improves from .282 in July, to .344 in August, as his LD% and FB% both go up.

Tropicana Field has a cement block placed in front of home plate, the harder surface there and the faster infield in my opinion helped Crawford post his good numbers on ground balls. Now that Crawford is in Fenway, he'll need to tweak his plate approach in an attempt to hit more fly balls and line drives, which, by the end of the season he seems to have done, posting a 38.5% FB at home in Fenway. If he continues with that approach, lowering his GB% to roughly 45%, we could see improvement from him in the future. He'll never be the player he was in Tampa Bay, but he could be much better than what we saw last year.

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