But anways, the name of this article is, "The Knurve To Say". I'll make some awesomely bold, yet stunningly correct assertions and then do my best to back it up. So here we go!
This week, I have The Knurve To Say...
... Carl Crawford this year is Curtis Granderson from last year!
I tweeted this the other day @TheKnurve (first shameless plug), but I wanted to talk a little bit more about a revelation I had earlier this week and that is "a comparison between Crawford this year and Granderson last year". Many fantasy owners, and certainly the Red Sox, have been very disappointed with Crawford's production to this point, and reasonably so. He's only on pace for 14 dingers, 19 steals and a .243 AVG, which is a much slower pace than we were anticipating out of the number-one outfielder off the board in many league's drafts. Both men also have to battle the stigma that they cannot hit lefties. Granderson seems to have figured it out (.277 with 9 HR in 83 at-bats) while Crawford is struggling mightily, hitting just .151 in 86 at-bats against southpaws this season.
Some of you may or may not remember Granderson got off to a similarly atrocious start last year, posting a two-HR April (and both dingers came on the opening weekend in Fenway) and just a .221 AVG before missing almost all of May with a groin injury. Granderson came back and struggled some more before having what Yankee fans may start calling "The Meeting" with hitting coach Kevin Long, who shortened up his swing and made it fit to Yankee Stadium. Granderson hit a total of 14 stinkers in August and September and the rest, as they say, is history. The adjustments Granderson made with Long were to shorten up his swing and eliminate some of the extraneous movement that slowed him down so much.
In looking at Crawford's swing, I see some similar problems with extraneous movement. Both men left pitchers parks, entered hitters parks and signed big old contracts, therefore lofting expectations about what they are capable of. But we have to remember adjustment periods are necessary to help cater swings to ballparks to fit their skill-set. I'm not saying Crawford and Granderson are identical players (although they are similar), I'm simply saying if Crawford can take a page out of Adrian Gonzalez's book and figure out how to fight lefties off the other way with the short porch in left-field, then he'll be the fantasy player we all hoped he would be. So to you, Crawford owners, expect him to start figuring lefties out in Fenway. He's just too talented not to.
The impetus for this whole idea was taking a look at Crawford's speed numbers and realizing how much hitting at the bottom of the order is hurting his fantasy value. I owned Granderson last season and was furious he was hitting at the bottom of the Yankees lineup. If he could just get to that 2-hole then it would turn him into the offensive force we all expected. Just look what he's done in that spot this year: .288 AVG, 17 shtoinkers, 44 RBI and 9 SB. #Winning.
As strange as this may seem, I think Crawford's injury will help him in the long run. I'm pretty convinced Granderson's injury forced him to tighten things up at the dish so maybe the same will happen to Crawford. I do want to mention with the season Jacoby Ellsbury is having, I don't think Crawford is ever going to hit those speed numbers we hoped he would. I highly doubt he ever tops 50 steals in a Red Sox uniform. I look for him to be in the 35-40 range when he finally figures his life out.
So now that I've gotten that little tangent out of the way, here are some fantasy thoughts I had from this past week:
- Things are getting ugly for the Marlins. Watching this team play baseball has been as painful as listening to a Lil' B song. For those of you who don't know what I'm talking about, watch this (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8m5CIcbytfM). They actually have the bullpen and I am a believer in their offense, but with Hanley Ramirez as disappointing as he's been and Chris Coghlan getting sent down, it's hard to keep the faith. I truly believe this team has all the pieces. Sure, they may have been playing above their heads the first two months of the season, but I think we all know they're not THIS bad. I'm definitely buying low on Hanley, for the right price. It's times like these in keeper leagues where you can pounce on a sell-high/buy-low situation while catch the opposing owner off guard. This might just be one of those years for Hanley.
- Adrian Gonzalez is a legitimate Triple Crown candidate. I was worried about his shoulder going into the year, but there are nights like last Tuesday where the Red Sox had five hits against the Jays and Gonzalez had 3 of them. Those are the performances that make you think this guy is onto something, especially considering he was 13-for-30 this week with three clobbershows and seven RBI.
- Going off of A-Gon, I have to say I'm starting to lose a little faith in Jose Bautista. Something has looked off about him in the past three weeks. Someone in one of my leagues just traded him for Matt Kemp straight up, and I think it was a great deal. He's slugging just .333 this month and pitchers are just not throwing to him. And guess who's been the beneficiary? The RED-HOT Adam Lind. Don't think these two occurrences aren't directly tied. Lind has been hitting lefties since he's been back and with Bautista's amazing ability to take walks, pitchers are being forced to throw to Lind, and he's been raking. That's a trend I can see continuing. I'm not saying Bautista's going to fall off the face of the earth, but this might be a good sell-high opportunity while many analysts are saying he's the new number-one fantasy player.
- I think Billy Butler will be a Ray by the end of the season. Sell high on him now because that's a crappy hitter’s park and he can't hit home runs.
- Since I'm talking a lot about selling, I want to share some buying opportunities. I know I own both of them on one team, but I think now is a buying opportunity for both Dan Uggla and Adam Dunn. I think both of them are onto something. And while neither may turn it on in the AVG department, I can definitely see both of them taking different approaches at the plate that will help them in the long run.
- A walk-off balk? Are you kidding me, Mets?
- Don't look now but I think Jhonny Peralta might be legit. He has been the primary beneficiary of hitting next to those guys Victor Martinez and Miguel Cabrera and I can see him putting up these numbers over the course of the year. He has mid-20's home run power with the ability to hit for AVG. With middle infield power as weak as it has been, he is someone I might make a run at.
- I firmly believe that last weekend’s Brewers-Red Sox series will be a World Series Preview.
The Mike Stanton Man-Crush meter currently sits at a six. With no home runs this week, Stanton has been letting me down. I take solace in the fact that nobody on the Marlins is hitting, so maybe his young, stellar, beautiful, strong, still-developing brain just needs to allow cooler heads to prevail in that clubhouse. He'll get it back and will be jacking monster shots in no time.
Joke of the week: What time was it in Boston during the Stanley Cup? 15 past Luongo. The joke's even funnier because nobody cares about hockey.
I'll be doing this segment each and every Monday, so get used to it and let me know what you think.
David Kaplan aka The Knurve