Thursday, December 9, 2010

Carl Crawford, take 2

My brother was so excited about the Red Sox signing Carl Crawford that he emailed the family the following analysis:
Carl Crawford. we stole him right from under the Angels noses with a 7 year, $142 million deal. he has lots of speed, won a Gold Glove last year, and also hit .307, with 110 runs, 30 doubles, 13 triples, and 19 HRs. he drove in 90 runs too. this was all for Tampa Bay fyi. this gives us the fastest outfield in the world, as well as the freedom to trade Ellsbury if we need the bullpen help. Also we can now platoon Drew and Cameron which will be great because Drew has never been able to hit lefties. Another bonus is that because Crawford and Jayson Werth signed 7 year deals, the Yankees #1 target, Cliff Lee, will demand 7 also. The Yankees have been firm in stopping at 6. So either they fold and sign a risky deal, or they lose the best pitcher on the market.

To sum up, the Sox now have under contract for at least 5 years: Lester, Buccholz, Bard, Pedroia, Youkilis, Ellsbury, Wakefield, and Crawford (Gonzalez will sign an extension after the season starts to avoid luxury tax - he is in the last year of a $6 million per year contract but will get a SIGNIFICANT deal, probably 6 years, $15-20 per year) and are in a great position to win the east for the next 3 at least.
But check out these stat lines:

They're pretty similar in outcomes, although the style is different. The first player has a low average, but walks plenty and hits for home-run power. The first player does not walk much at all, steals a lot of bases, and plays more games. He of course is Crawford, with career averages adjusted to reflect the number of games a year he's played since 2003.

The second player is J.D. Drew. But it's not Drew's career average numbers, it's his 2010 season, which was his worst since 2002,. Drew saw a steep dropoff in average, walks, and power, leaving his OPS 100 points below its average. But even the worst year of J.D. Drew appears to be about as good as Crawford on average.

Crawford's hardiness (only in 2008 did he have real injury problems) should command a small premium, but if Drew is overpriced at $14 million, as most Bostonians think, how can Crawford be a good purchase at $20m per year?


BPF said...

You are missing some important information. 1st of all, Crawford isn't just "more durable" than Drew, he has had over 600 plate appearances every season except 08 (when he was hurt and still managed over 400); and usually its closer to 650 than 600.

Second, its all about clutch.
Drew had one clutch hit, in 2007. Crawford is consistently clutch.

Most important, since you love numbers, is WAR. You show how you think Drew's worst year is better than Crawford's average year. However in 2010, Drew's oWAR was a meager 1.8. Crawford's was 4.7.

And one more thing: we signed Crawford as he is on the rise. He has improved in power steadily over the past 5 years, while maintaining speed and average. He is 28. We signed Drew when he was 31. He had just increased his RBI count by 66. He had hit 20 HRs the year before, and it seemed possible that he could sustain that well. Unfortunately, he couldn't break the 70 RBI mark with us, despite hitting after Manny and Papi and all their on-base percentages.

I know you love to be the rebel, and its true, Crawford was expensive, but don't ever compare him to Drew; it just doesn't add up.

P.S. whether this happens we will have to see, but the best part about this is that we now have the freedom to trade Jacoby, whose stock is still high, and get a solid reliever or two, or a catcher.

Chops said...

Good points. Obviously, 2010 was a career-year for Crawford and a down year for Drew. On average, the WAR numbers favor Crawford, mainly through the channel of games played. Drew is worth less because he plays less.

My argument about their similarity stands, though: on any given day, having a healthy Drew or a healthy Crawford in your lineup is about the same. Crawford is earning Manny Ramirez money with JD Drew statistics. Unless he gets better over the next few years, he's overpaid.

Mom said...

I agree w/Barn.