Carl Crawford hasn’t played all year, at least in any MLB games. After wrist surgery in the offseason, the Red Sox lost Crawford, whom they gave a large contract after the 2010 season, for the whole first half of the season. Of course, Crawford was a major disappointment in 2011, playing basically as a replacement player with an OBP under .300 and apparent regressions on the bases and defensively. He wasn’t the guy that he once was in Tampa Bay. The Red Sox plan on adding Crawford to the 25 man roster on Monday, which would start his 2012 season. It has also been announced that at some time Crawford is going to need Tommy John surgery, which would most likely cost him a season. He has recently been rehabbing for several different affiliates, most recently the AAA Pawtucket Red Sox. I watched his games on Thursday and Friday night, to see if he could help the Red Sox on an offensive or defensive level.
In his 1st at-bat, he faked a bunt and took a strike. He then chased a breaking ball in the dirt. At 0-2, Crawford chased another breaking ball almost in the dirt and made weak contact and grounded out to 2nd.
At-bat 2: Crawford took a low strike, before an inside and low pitch was swung at for a weak fly-ball barely fair and dropped in for a hit.
At-bat 3: After whiffing on a fastball, he whiffed on another fastball. Crawford hit a low moving fastball on the low outside corner up the middle. He was pitched outside the entire at-bat.
Defensively, the first ball hit to him was a ground-ball. The throw back in by Crawford was not strong at all.
The 2nd ball hit to him was another ground-ball. He just looks awkward in the outfield and bounced the throw to 2nd.
The 3rd ball to Crawford was another ground-ball. He got to it, and then made another weak throw.
The 4th ball to him was a fly-ball to warning track. He got to it and caught it, although as awkwardly as possible, and made a weak throw in to the infield.
The 5th ball to him showed that Crawford still has some speed and range as he was able to get to a ground-ball quickly. He made another weak throw.
2nd game (Friday):
In the 1st, he made a nice sliding catch, eerily similar to the one he couldn’t quite make that ended the Red Sox 2011 season. In the 2nd, he made a routine catch and then had a ball hit to him on a hop and made a not strong but not weak throw to the cut-off man. In the 3rd inning, he fielded a line drive that he didn’t have to move much in order to catch it. On a double down the line, there wasn’t much Crawford could do, but his throw back in was really weak.
At-bat 4: After fouling off a good fastball, Crawford watched high breaking ball. He then took an inside fastball, but pulled an inside fastball foul. This could possibly be intepreted as a positive sign for his bat speed. He then chased a terrible breaking ball to strikeout.
At-bat 5: Crawford started the at-bat by taking an outside fastball to get ahead 1-0. A pitch down the middle was then fouled off by Crawford and he took a low inside fastball to get ahead 2-1. He fouled off another outside fastball and took a low breaking pitch to make it a full count. He then got a fastball chest high and hit it hard toward the CF/RF gap. Unfortunately for Crawford, the center fielder turned it into an out, but it was hit pretty well.
At-bat 6: After watching a 94 MPH fastball outside, he fouled off (going the other way) a fastball on the middle/inside of the plate. He then took a high breaking ball but fouled back another fastball in the strike zone. After a pitch way outside ran the count full again, Crawford took another pitch high and outside to walk. Crawford would then proceed to steal 2nd and made it easily as the catcher dropped the ball.
At-bat 7: He got a first pitch high fastball from Manny Acosta and immediately grounded out to 1st base.
At-bat 8: After taking two straight fastballs (at 96 MPH, one high and one low) to get up 2-0, he got a high fastball that he fouled off again. He then got jammed by an inside fastball and yanked it just foul. He fouled off another inside fastball before hitting a very weak ground-ball to 2nd for a fielders choice.
Overall, Carl Crawford looks like a guy who is still a decent runner, but he still looks injured. His arm is going to cause major problems in the outfield, his bat speed looks a little off, and his power (he was never a real power hitter in the first place but could hit the ball hard) looks sapped. This isn’t the guy that we saw in Tampa, and it certainly isn’t the guy that the Red Sox paid for.