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Entries in Carl Crawford (6)

Wednesday
Mar132013

Strasburg to start opening day plus more

"Not that there was any uncertainty about it, but Davey Johnson made it official nonetheless this morning: Stephen Strasburg will start Opening Day for the Nationals.

"I guess you want me to say it," the 70-year-old manager said. "He's going to be my Opening Day starter. You drug it out of me."

Johnson's selection of Strasburg is hardly a surprise. The right-hander got the Opening Day nod last season in Chicago, then went 15-6 with a 3.16 ERA and 197 strikeouts before his much-debated shutdown in early September after 159 1/3 innings."

Source: CSNWashington.com

CJ Wilson effective in off-day assignment

"For most major league veterans, spring training is a pretty low-key affair. All you have to do is get a little work in, break a sweat occasionally, and fine-tune a few things for the regular season.

But even by those standards Tuesday was a relaxing day for left-hander C.J. Wilson, who pitched four innings against a team made up primarily of minor leaguers on what was, for the rest of the Angels, a day off.

"We have to make it like a real game even though we're just facing our own guys," Wilson said. "So I'm trying to go in and kind of get rah-rah and have fun. 'Let's go! Let's beat these Angels!'"

Source: LAtimes.com

Carl Crawford faces live major league pitching

"Carl Crawford faced relievers Kenley Jansen andJ.P. Howell on Tuesday, marking the first time he took live batting practice against major league pitchers since he was shut down two weeks ago.

“A step in the right direction,” said Crawford, who resumed working out last week.

Crawford, who is recovering from reconstructive elbow surgery, was encouraged by how he felt.

“Your timing at this point is never going to be the way you want it, but it wasn’t as far off as I would expect it to be, either,” he said."

Source: LAtimes.com

Carlos Gomez agrees to deal with Brewers

"Outfielder Carlos Gomez and the Milwaukee Brewers have agreed to a $28.3 million, four-year contract.

The 27-year-old outfielder would have been eligible for free agency after this season. He had agreed to a $4.3 million, one-year deal in January, and the new contract includes salaries of $7 million in 2014, $8 million in 2015 and $9 million in 2016."

Source: ESPN.com

Hochevar transitioned to bullpen

"Right-hander Luke Hochevar, eternally inconsistent as a starter, is shifting, at least temporarily, to the Royals’ bullpen.

Manager Ned Yost announced the move Wednesday morning prior to a game against Seattle at Surprise Stadium.

“I think it makes us a better team,” Yost said. “I think it makes us a stronger team. It gives us a better chance to win every day. With three weeks left, I want to get him acclimated to that role.”

Source: Kansascity.com

Casey Kelly might need "Tommy John" surgery

"The already cloudy picture regarding Padres starting pitching turned darker Wednesday afternoon when it Padres manager Bud Black confirmed that right-hander Casey Kelly has had tests on his right elbow and could be a candidate for elbow reconstruction surgery.

“Anything is possible,” the Padres manager said of the possibility that Kelly would be the Padres pitcher to have “Tommy John” surgery in the last 10 months.

“It is that part of the elbow that we’re concerned about,” Black continued. “The doctors are concerned about what the tests looked like. There’s going to be a lot of discussion between Kelly and his family. They’ll probably want a second opinion.”

Source: UTSandiego.com

Dodgers hoping plasma injection helps Greinke

"Zack Greinke has a sore elbow and Chad Billingsley doesn't, neither of which the Dodgers really expected this spring.

What they have in common is that Billingsley's partially torn elbow ligament responded last year to injections of platelet-rich plasma, and now the Dodgers are waiting to see if a similar injection, along with anti-inflammatory medication like cortisone, will have the same beneficial result with Greinke.

The Dodgers have been using the treatment since 2008, when reliever Takashi Saito responded well to the procedure as has Billingsley, avoiding Tommy John surgery."

Source: MLB.com

Brennan Boesch released

"The Detroit Tigers have released outfielder Brennan Boesch, the club announced Wednesday morning.

The Tigers should have nontendered the 27-year-old outfielder last December, but they thought they could trade him. As it turned out, they weren't getting any bites, so cutting bait now was the right move. Boesch's contract for the 2013 season was worth $2.3 million. By cutting him now, the Tigers only owe him a sixth ($383,333) of that.

Also note that the Tigers have Austin JacksonTorii HunterAndy DirksQuintin Berry andAvisail Garcia as outfield options, so there's no need for Boesch.

Boesch finished fifth in AL Rookie of the Year voting in 2010 and then hit .283/.341/.458 with 16 homers in just 115 games in 2011, but last season was a different matter. Boesch regressed to .240/.286/.372 with 12 homers in 503 plate appearances. He struck out 104 times while walking just 26. For those into the advanced metrics, Boesch's WAR was 2.3 in 2011 and negative-1.4 last season."

Source: Cbssportsline.com

 

Wednesday
Oct262011

Cherington Backs Crawford 

Carl Crawford's first season in Boston was a bust. The long-time Tampa Bay Ray landed a seven-year, $142 million contract last offseason with the expectation that he'd bring his power/speed combo and top-flight defense to Fenway. Instead, Crawford missed a month with a strained hamstring and batted just .255, with a career-worst .289 on-base percentage and a .405 slugging percentage. His 85 OPS+ was his worst mark since he first became a full-time starter as a 21-year-old back in 2003, and he was exactly replacement-level according to Baseball-Reference's version of Wins Above Replacement.

New Red Sox GM Ben Cherington, however, believes that the 30-year-old left fielder has plenty of championship-caliber baseball left in him. During his introductory press conference, Cherington backed Crawford:

“I was one of the strongest proponents of signing Carl Crawford last offseason,” Cherington said. “I pushed hard for that because I believed in him and I believe in him just the same now as I did then. This guy has been an impact player on both sides of the ball for a lot of years in this league. We saw over and over what he can do to help a team win when he was in Tampa.”

So, what went wrong at the plate for Crawford, causing him to look like a shell of the hitter who posted a 107 OPS+ during his time in Tampa? For one, he walked in just 4.3 percent of his plate appearances, his worst mark since 2005. Pitchers were more aggressive against Crawford in 2011, placing more of their offerings in the zone instead of off the outside corner. Check out opponents' pitch location versus Crawford from 2008-2010, compared to 2011:

Opponents' pitch location vs. Crawford, 2008-2010Opponents' pitch location vs. Crawford, 2011Crawford's percentage of pitches seen within the strike zone climbed to 49 from 45 over the previous three seasons. And he let more of those pitches go by for strikes, as Crawford's called strike percentage increased to 34.1 percent from 30.7 percent from 2008-2010 (the league average is 31.2 percent). More in-zone pitches and more called strikes put Crawford in the hole more often: he was backed into pitcher's counts in 48 percent of his plate appearances this season. From '08 to '10, he fell behind the pitcher in 45 percent of his PAs.

Aside from showing poor pitch recognition, Crawford's batting average on balls in play took a tumble. His BABIP was .299 this past season, about 30 points below his career average before signing with the Red Sox. Check out his in-play average (including home runs) by pitch location from 2008-2010, and then 2011. With Boston, he rarely got hits on pitches thrown high and away:

 Crawford's in-play average by pitch location, 2008-2010

Crawford's in-play average by pitch location, 2011

His BABIP against right-handers fell somewhat (.325, compared to .341 from 2008-2010), but the drop was more pronounced against lefties (.240 BABIP, down from .298 from 2008-2010).

It's difficult to pinpoint the reasoning for Crawford's BABIP decline. He's undoubtedly one of the game's fastest players when healthy, boasting the second-highest Speed Score in the game over the past three seasons. Perhaps his bad wheel caused him to beat out a few less hits than he typically would.

Or, his falling behind pitchers so often could be a factor -- he could have been taking more defensive swings, instead of really letting 'er rip and making hard contact. The count has a significant effect on how often batters get hits on balls put in play. Overall, hitters had a .289 BABIP in pitcher's counts in 2011, compared to a .299 BABIP in even counts and a .308 BABIP in hitter's counts.

If Crawford's 2011 BABIP mirrored his career mark with the Rays, he would have had a batting average in the mid-.280s, a .320ish OBP and a slugging percentage in the mid-.430s (and that's assuming all additional hits are singles). That's not too terribly off his career .296/.337/.444 line with the Rays. Whether it be better health, improved strike-zone judgment or just a few more lucky bounces, Crawford needs his BABIP to bounce back if he's going to validate Cherington's confidence in him.

Tuesday
Jun142011

Carl Crawford Returns to the Trop

Tonight, Boston's Carl Crawford returns to where he started his career.  Crawford played nine seasons with the Tampa Bay Rays before signing with the Red Sox this offseason.

The start to his Red Sox career has been anything but easy.  Through his first 40 games, he had hit .205/.243/.280 with just one home run and 31 strike outs.  However, he's managed to slowly climb out of that hole and has raised his line to .246/.279/.393.  At this point in the 2010 season, Crawford was sporting a .296/.346/.465 line.

Here's a look at his SLG% heat maps through June 13 for both this season and last:

Data through June 13 (Click to enlarge image)

Crawford has simply not been as dangerous on pitches in the strike zone this season.  Oddly enough, he's hit the same number of HRs (6) and triples (4) that he did at this point last season.  However, he's striking out at a slightly greater rate (14.2% to 16.9% K-Rate), and walking much less (7.1% to 3.4% BB%).  As a result, his wOBA is down over 50 points from where it was at this point last season.

Crawford has never hit lefties well, but this season he's struggled greatly against them.  He's hitting .159/.216/.280 vs. LHP for a .222 wOBA, compared to a .324 wOBA vs. RHP this season.  In his career, he's put up a .264/.310/.376 line against lefties. 

Tonight, Crawford and the Red Sox face James Shields (TB) who is off to a 5-4 start with a 2.85 ERA with the Rays.  Shields has held lefties to a .232/.279/.379 line this season.  Meanwhile, Crawford has been bashing RHP over the last month, with a .419 wOBA including 3 doubles, 2 triples, and 4 home runs in that span.


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