Carl Crawford Making a Wonderful First Impression

crawford_headon_april2013Yesterday on Twitter, I joked that at this early point in the season, Ned Colletti was looking really good for agreeing to eat all of that Adrian Gonzalez money in order to acquire Carl Crawford from the Red Sox last August.

That’s obviously not quite the way it went down, but after the first week of games, Crawford has unquestionably been the team’s offensive star so far. Remember when “who in the world is going to hit leadoff?” was the biggest concern for half of the winter? Crawford has filled the role admirably, leading the team in hits, runs, and stolen bases, while showing an adequate enough — if still far from outstanding — arm in left field.

I’m not even going to share his stat line, because it’s immaterial after 22 plate appearances — and if I did, we’d have to talk about that .563 BABIP, too — but just consider all the uncertainty about him headed into the year. Would his elbow be healthy? Would his wrist? Was his awful showing in Boston more than just being injured or uncomfortable? Would this be more than $100 million simply flushed down the drain?

I can’t stand here on April 8 and say that we truthfully know the answers to any of those questions, because again, six games. But I will say that Crawford getting off to a good start was perhaps more important than it was for anyone except Luis Cruz, and Cruz has failed badly in that regard. As Matt Kemp struggles, we understand that he’s a great player who had his winter routine disrupted by surgery. If Clayton Kershaw struggled — as though that’s even possible — he gets all the slack in the world, given his history. But if Crawford got off to a poor start, especially with Yasiel Puig already looking good in Chattanooga, you don’t imagine Dodger fans would have given him much benefit of the doubt, and an uncertain leadoff spot would have quickly become a gaping hole wasted on Skip Schumaker & Mark Ellis.

Instead, Crawford’s looked excellent, consistently putting men on for Kemp, Adrian Gonzalez, & Andre Ethier. (That they haven’t done much with those opportunities, at least until yesterday, is a separate issue entirely.) An effective Crawford changes the dynamic of this offense considerably, especially considering there’s at least two black holes — three if you count the pitcher, four if the regulars get a day off — being sent out on a daily basis.

Again, it’s only a few games, and whether this is just a small sample size thing or a brief period of health before he inevitably injures himself again remains to be seen. Still, when I did an in-depth examination of him a few weeks ago, what we kept coming back to was how absurdly open his stance was when he was performing badly in Boston, as you can see in this example from April 2011:

crawford_2011-04-08_redsoxWhen he was successful in Tampa, his stance wasn’t as open and his bat was certainly not at a flat angle, behind his head. Here he is yesterday, and while Pirates righty Chris Leroux partially blocks the view of his feet, you can see both there and in the headline picture above that his bat is at nearly a 45-degree angle.

crawford_stance_april-7-2013We’ll see if this is an early season mirage, or if the changes he’s been able to make stick. If so, we’re not going to be talking about the nine-figure albatross that the Dodgers had to eat to get Gonzalez. We’ll be talking about the leadoff man doing a great job setting up opportunities for the heart of the Dodger order.

TiqIQ’s job is to find the best deals out for you on the market, and for the Dodgers you may want to check out TicketCity.

943 comments
Disgruntled Goat
Disgruntled Goat moderator

FYI - Juan Uribe against Richard: 10-26 (.385), .429 OBP, 1 2B, 1 3B, 2 HR, 4 K

He's going to put up 4 WAR today

capnsparrow
capnsparrow

So Uribe gets the start and hits 5th. Who among would rather have Adam Kennedy at 3rd and hitting 5th? 

moneynow27
moneynow27

Playing 3B and batting 5th today:   Juan Uribe.....Ugh...

Bluebloodla92
Bluebloodla92

Beckett better step up. I dont want no washed up 89mph has been. I want pitcher who adjusts through age and reinvents himself, not no roy halladay.lol (poor guy)

systemguy
systemguy

Does anyone else get anxious waiting for a new post?

DINGERS!
DINGERS!

Ah, Sashimi & steak for lunch? Yes please!

Asahi on tap=1 TLR

and now I'm full :)

Purple Drank
Purple Drank

@capnsparrowJuan Uribe against Richard: 10-26 (.385), .429 OBP, 1 2B, 1 3B, 2 HR, 4 K

He's going to put up 4 WAR today

Purple Drank
Purple Drank

@moneynow27Juan Uribe against Richard: 10-26 (.385), .429 OBP, 1 2B, 1 3B, 2 HR, 4 K

He's going to put up 4 WAR today

Batted Bob
Batted Bob

@Disgruntled Goat speaking of fantasy teams, I want to make sure @EephusBlue saw the lineup card and is aware that Nick Punto is available off the bench today and belongs in the Stop Bunting lineup.

Lobo
Lobo

@Mike Petriello Padres only have one lefty out of the pen?  Awesome, Ethier might actually be useful in late game situations.

DINGERS!
DINGERS!

@Mantis Shrimp, not moderator Trader Joes free coffee!

CAFFEINE!!!!1!!!