That man in the middle has been absolutely scorching lately, with a 1.070 OPS over the last 28 days. He's been doing it on the strength of confidence, ability, and a .545 BABIP. His hot streak is unsustainable, no doubt about it. However, he's had two full months this season where his BABIP has been well-below the normal range. It's entirely logical to consider this to be some market correction. Consider his two good seasons for the Cleveland Clevelands:
2004: .297/.344/.446, BABIP: .320
2005: .300/.345/.465, BABIP: .323
And his line thusfar for the Sox:
2008: .291/.349/.421, BABIP: .332
His good years, obviously, have always been characterized by relatively high BABIPs. They aren't necessarily flukes; hitters like Manuel Ramirez and Derek Jeter have fashioned careers in which they are above-average in their BABIP range. One of the problems with a player like Crisp sustaining his for the long term is a loss of leg speed, but at 28 with 20 SBs on the season, he doesn't seem to be slowing down very much in that department. He's probably been a bit lucky, but he's been attempting to make clear over the last month plus that he is not a sinkhole in the offensive department. With Ellsbury's continuing struggles, it's safe to say that Jason Bay (.912 OPS with the Sox), Coco, and Mark Kotsay (.836) is the way to go in the outfield until (possibly later this week) J.D. Drew is ready to start again.
One of the ways in which we gained from the Manuel trade (which I am still recovering from) is in athleticism and versatility. I'd be comfortable with all of our OFs but Bay, perhaps, playing all 3 spots. And Bay ,certainly to the eyes, is providing a lot more speed, hustle, and defense in the LF spot and his spot in the batting order. Even with him being confined to LF, Coco, Kotsay, Drew, and Ells give us a lot of potential movable parts. A continued strong showing from Kotsay along with his ability to keep the curtain up at 1B may keep Sean Casey off of the playoff roster. But I digress, and get ahead of myself.
In any event, Coco's hot streak has provided he and the Sox with a lot more options now and in the future. The Sox can continue to ride Crisp's hot and timely bat through the rest of the season, and Coco now has a better chance at staying here and starting? or, more likely, getting the opportunity to move on to a situation in which he would be the bonafide starting CF. He's certainly making himself more palatable (read: marketable) in that respect. For now though, let's just enjoy what we've got in him and hope he can continue to assist DP, Bay, Papi, and Youks in doing the heavy lifting offensively.