Saturday, December 21, 2013


I'm a big fan, if you haven't noticed, of Baseball-Reference. It's my go-to site, and almost all the images on the blog link to B-R. I've always made a point to sponsor a page or two, starting with the likes of Billy Sadler and Brad Hennessey up to Conor Gillaspie and Nick Noonan. I would prefer to only sponsor Matt Cain's page, and have in the past, but because he's now a big star his page costs a lot--currently $195. I like to pony up some cash when I believe in something, but that's a bit much. I considered hitting up my blog-mates to kick in a little, and even thought of asking the hecklers in the peanut gallery as well, but it was just too tacky. After all, this is supposed to be fun and not cost anything except your monthly internet fee, am I right? Long story short--I decided to sponsor Brandon Crawford's page. He's my lovely bride's favorite (after Buster Posey, but she has a thing for catchers), but that's no surprise, just about every female I know thinks B-Craw is the hottie of the club. I think B-Craw is a terrific player, and I have high hopes for a big year from him.

Here's his OPS+ for the last three seasons: 67, 86, 96.

Here's his wRC+ for the last three seasons: 68, 80, 91.

Trending upward, wouldn't you say? I think B-Craw has shown he can pick it with the best, despite logging fewer than 3000 innings in his brief career. In the minors he was a .266/.331/.403 hitter (.734), and last season he managed a .248/.311/.363 line (.674), all career highs. With his superb range, soft hands, and rocket arm, he's immensely valuable to the club even if he never leaves the 8-spot in the lineup. I think he's going to hit damn close to league average in 2014, maybe even a little better. When you do that at a premium defensive position you are one of the elites. For the record, the NL average line last season was .251/.315/.388 (.703). In fact, B-Craw was pounding out an .800 OPS the first week of June in 2013. He sprained two fingers on his right hand a little later in the month and saw his numbers drop as the season went on. With improved health and a little more experience under his belt I don't see why he can't hit well all season long. Last year I wrote that I was looking forward to watching him play more than anyone else on the team. Not that the Giants don't have lots of wonderfully watchable guys, but a 25-year old lefty-hitting shortstop with a World Series ring and a bright future is hard not to fixate on. So, bring it on, Brandon!



Shankbone said...

Love it. As a paying member of the peanut gallery, gotta say your choice is top shelf.

Last years stats really have to be taken with a grain of salt, that wrist injury he sustained sliding into the base messed with his hitting big time.

One of the biggest stories people missed on was Craw's injuries. So playing through the pain, that was big time. But the injuries, particularly in the Eastern, covered up his stat line and made him look like a lesser prospect. As we've found out, he is a greater prospect.

Love for him to hit ST in the best shape of his life, go grab some headlines.

M.C. O'Connor said...

When you think about the young talent the organization has produced since drafting Cain in 2002, it is mind-blowing: Timmeh, MadBum, Romo, Belt, Posey, Hanchez, BCraw, Panda, and lest we forget Wilson and JSanchez.

Zo said...

Funny - my wife has a thing for catchers, too. Particularly catchers who tend to be reliable at the plate. Matheny caught her fancy and, of course, Buster. But let's say B.Craw's stats weren't trending up. Would that mean he was less valuable? He was put there as a young man because of his glove. The Giants needed strength up the middle, hence they got Pagan, Crawford and Scutaro in the line-up, and it worked. Crawford's glove put him on the team and his bat is a bonus. But yes, I think that with his confidence level and potential, he can be a better contributor to the offense than he has been in the past. And that's a good thing - more offense from everyone.

Anonymous said...

IIRC Crawford also had a unsustainably high HR/FB% during the early part of last season - all the rest of his numbers were mostly in line with or slightly improved on his career numbers, but for whatever reason a ton of his FB were getting out of the park. So I'm not sure whether the second half was him being injured, or the random luck falling back to earth. The HR/FB% ended up being around 7% (his career rate is around 5%) but for a couple months there it was like 20% or something ridiculous like that.

That said he's a fantastic defensive SS, and it's reasonable to think that he's going to improve as he matures, and I really enjoy watching him play, and I hope he hits fantastic next year.

Ron said...

So, yesterday, I found out that we get a channel called Latin American Sports. It is pretty cheesy (poor video quality, amateurish [mostly Mexican business hotels] ads, etc.), but what really caught my attention was Cuban League Baseball! After watching the end of a Puerto Rican League game, I watched several innings of a match-up between Industriales & Holquin. From what I've been able to gather on the Internet, I think that the game was actually played on Saturday. It was quite interesting. The broadcast seemed to be legit (from Cuba, with guys who had Cuban accents). Their crowd shots were very short - I'm pretty sure that that was on purpose. There were occasional pans of Havana - I recognized one building from photos I've seen before. The unit of measure for the fence distances were only feet??? Most of the equipment had unrecognizable logos, although there were a few UnderArmor wristbands & a couple of familiar looking mitts. Only about 50% of the guys wore batting gloves. I got to see Alexander Malleta hit his 200th career HR in the 'National Series'. The coolest thing about Cuban league baseball? When a batter comes to the plate for the first time in a game, he shakes hands with the Umpire & the other team's Catcher!

M.C. O'Connor said...

It's interesting how fraternization between players has really changed in our lifetimes. It was verboten back in the day. Now they jaw with each other all the time. I remember that Barry always yakked with the field umps whenever there was a break in the action. I always thought that was smart--he respected them and, in turn, got a lot of borderline calls. He was a different animal between the lines than he was in the real world.

Don't Japanese players salute or bow to the homeplate ump before on their first at-bat? I think that's a pretty cool custom. I don't know about handshakes--with all that damn spitting going on, I'm not sure I'd go there.

Ron said...

Spitting ... or worse - don't forget about Moises Alou & his callous treatment.