Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) -
Tampa Bay outfielder Carl Crawford has been in the news lately, mostly about contract talks and a likely foray into the free agent market next season. It got me to thinking about what he's done as a fantasy outfielder and how he is viewed by fantasy owners.
I've come to the conclusion, that most of the time, he's picked too early on Draft Day which could explain why I rarely have him on my team.
When Crawford first exploded on the scene, he was thought to be a future fantasy superstar because of his speed and anticipated power numbers. Many "experts" thought he would add 20-30 homers to a high stolen base total to make him one of those rare speed/power guys (see my story from February 20th).
Unfortunately, despite averaging a very nice 50.7 stolen bases-per year in seven full seasons, Crawford has never achieved the level of power predicted. In fact, his career high is 18 homers back in 2006 and his average home run production is just 11.5 per season.
In contrast to his numbers, Crawford continues to be highly sought after on Draft Day. Currently he's got an ADP of 22, meaning he's a late second-round pick.
That simply doesn't make sense from an actual production standpoint. Yes, he'll be a league-leader in steals and have close to 100 runs scored, but does that make him a second-round selection given his low HR total, under .300 career batting average and low for an outfielder OPS (career average 0.772)? It's the same question you must ask yourself if you are going to choose Jacoby Ellsbury.
The question is: are 30 stolen bases worth taking lesser production in HR, RBI, SLG and OPS?
I believe the answer is no, therefore I never pick Crawford in the second round and I almost never have him on my roster because someone else will make that choice.
2010 2nd-Round Outfielders Career Statistics (by 162-game average)