Fantasy Baseball Friday: Why You Should Trade for Carl Crawford Before Your League Deadline
by Alex Hall (@AlexKHall )
Carl Crawford is one of the top candidates for “most frustrating player to own” award in fantasy baseball the past few years, but he’ll soon be up for “biggest second-half MVP”.
The Boston Red Sox outfielder has seen more of the dugout bench in Fenway Park than he has of the warning track or Green Monster since joining the team in 2011 due to multiple injuries. While that statement is true, he’s still the ultra-talented player that once stole 60 bases in a single season.
The last time he played a full season back in 2010, he stole 47 bases, had almost 20 home runs; good enough for his fourth career All-Star selection. The great thing for fantasy managers is that the injury bug and less-than-stellar numbers have changed the perception of Crawford from stud outfielder to injury-prone underperformer.
That change in perception means that managers don’t have to give up a whole lot of value in a trade if they wish to acquire him before their league trade deadline.
Since being activated from the 60-day disabled list July 16, Crawford has only one RBI, a .269 batting average and his three steals all came in one game.
Those numbers aren’t great but that can be chalked up to the fact he’s only had 26 at-bats since returning and most players take to time to get back in rhythm after a hefty DL stint. Crawford showed with his three-steal game against the White Sox on July 17 that he still has deadly speed when on the bases and could easily rack up 20 or more steals by the time the fantasy baseball season ends.
Boston’s lineup has been decimated by injuries with Cody Ross, Crawford and Jacoby Ellsbury all spending time on the disabled list, but with all three healthy there will be more RBI chances for Crawford. If history is any indication, the former Tampa Bay Ray should capitalize on those RBI chances more often than not. Even in 2011, where he played in just 130 games, Crawford was able to drive in nearly 60 runs for Boston.
It wasn’t too long ago that fantasy analysts were calling Crawford a lock to be drafted in the first round of leagues, now you can acquire that talent for a bargain. Owners of Crawford have seen him sitting on their DL all year, only to give a disappointing start to his 2012 season. Now is the time to capitalize on that frustration and chances are the outfielder can be bought for your No. 3 pitcher or your best backup infielder.
Batters like Carlos Lee who have had a respectable year or a more-sizzle-than-steak pitcher like Jeremy Hellickson could easily be swapped for Crawford if you find the right owner with the right needs.
ESPN fantasy analyst Matthew Berry has said multiple times in his career that fantasy is tough to predict and the best question to ask yourself is “what’s most likely to happen?” Using that premise, it’s far more likely that Crawford returns to his former self than continuing to flounder and underperform.
All indications are that he’s back to full health and Boston’s offense is back to its respectable self. It won’t be long before Crawford starts stealing bases like crazy and his asking price skyrockets, so do your team a favor and go get him while he’s cheap.
Photo credit Keith Allison