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!