Buy ‘Em or Deny ‘Em: Why Brandon Crawford Is A Player To Avoid

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

The Giants’ Brandon Crawford made a splash a few years ago, slugging 21 HR over 561 PA.  The number has dropped over the past two seasons however, as he’s also shown significantly less upside in the process:

Year
Home Runs
HR/FB
20152116.2%
2016127.5%
2017149.9%

Crawford now owns an 8.4% HR/FB for his career, and while he has produced additional extra base hits the past few seasons (34 doubles and 1 triple in ’17) it’s become clear that ’15 was the aberration.  Expecting anything more than 12-15 HR would be a significant miscalculation (consider anything above that a bonus).  Considering the home ballpark, is it really a surprise that he’s not a power threat?

That leaves the question if he brings anything of value to the table?

Crawford isn’t a stolen base threat, having never swiped more than 7 bases in a season.  He’s shown an ability to drive in some runs (77+ each of the past three years), though he’s not one to score a lot (67 R in 2016 was his career best).  So he has to be able to hit for a strong average, right…

That too would be incorrect, as he’s a career .252 hitter.  Obviously the lack of power potential is going to cap him, but he’s also consistently struggled to hit the ball hard (19.8% line drive rate, 29.8% Hard% for his career).  That means he’s not going to post an elevated BABIP, and he hasn’t with a .297 career mark.

He also hasn’t shown an ability to make consistent contact, including a 13.0% SwStr% last season.  In 2017 he saw the fewest hard pitches of his career (57.45%), and that shouldn’t come as a surprise given his Whiff%:

  • Hard – 11.05%
  • Breaking Balls – 18.14%
  • Offspeed Pitches – 21.27%

Considering that he hit .313 with a .494 SLG against fourseam fastballs, it shouldn’t be surprising if that trend continues.  That would simply mean a further drag on his already limited production.

So, let’s put this all together:

  • Power – Limited
  • Speed – Fairly nonexistent
  • Average – Pedestrian, at best, with the potential to fall further

Why exactly would you want to invest?  The name is going to draw some people to him, but even in the later rounds the value isn’t there.  It’s easy to find a player with significantly more upside, making Crawford one to ignore.

Sources – Fangraphs, Brooks Baseball

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Make sure to check out all of our 2018 Projections:

Player
Date Published
Cano, Robinson10/09/17
Castillo, Luis10/03/17
Gerrit Cole10/30/17
Didi Gregorius11/20/17
Wil Myers10/24/17
Quintana, Jose11/13/17
Sanchez, Aaron12/05/17
Schoop, Jonathan11/27/17
Stroman, Marcus10/16/17
Walker, Taijuan 11/06/17

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