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Through all the injuries, my recollection of 2013 Carl Crawford was probably “pleasantly surprised”. I had no clue he was going to come back in that way, he was one of the better players for the start of the season on the Dodgers batting .301/.358/.470 with good defense at the LF position. I, quite honestly was shocked with his production. I really thought Crawford was done being a decent major league player, but I was wrong, through these 51 games up until he got hurt he looked like the Crawford of old. However, I am conflicted on Crawford.
Maybe you didn’t notice, but Carl Crawford was atrocious in one area last season. Lets take a look at his splits for the whole season, against right handed batters he was acceptable, hitting a nice .308/.351/.445, but did you know he was horrendous versus left handed pitching? A .206/.261/.290 is some special type of bad. Not being able to hit .300 in any of the 3 major statistical stat lines is horrid. That’s line is like mixing Yuniesky Betancourt‘s “On Base Skills” with Adeiny Hechavarria‘s “power”. Lets put that in some perspective, Andre Ethier‘s woes versus same handed pitching is well chronicled, but lets see his stats last season, .221/.275/.338, that slugging percentage, while horrid, is still almost 40 points above Crawfords, Ethier’s career numbers versus left handers sit at .235/.294/.351. Bad? Yep, respectable for a guy who mashes right handed pitching as well as Dre does? Absolutely. Crawford’s numbers versus left handed pitching are .259/.306/.374, respectable as well, but in the last 3 years (which are more relevant in my opinion) he sits at .210/.261/.335, a sub .600 OPS in 310 AB’s. Horrendous.
Everyone loves talking about how mediocre Ethier is versus left handed pitching, but really it’s not like Crawford has been that much better versus left handed pitchers. We can sit here and talk about the 4 OF situation, and of course, it is a minor issue, also one that wont be resolved until everyone in the outfield can stay relatively healthy. However, everything being equal, considering that this team has significant money, it might not be such a bad idea to keep an open mind about this. If, for the sake of argument, Carl Crawford completely implodes this upcoming season, where does that leave him for the rest of his Dodger career? Does he sit on the bench and be a 4th OF? Do the Dodgers trade him, or do they keep him and start him in hopes of a rebound (remember he’ll be 33 next season).
It’s an interesting exercise to think of, what happens if Crawford busts?