Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Can You Tell the Difference between Carl Crawford and Jayson Werth?

The news of the day, which will be replaced by even more startling hot stove news tomorrow, was the Red Sox' secret meeting with Carl Crawford and his agent in Houston earlier today.  The usual media outlets are fighting it out over whether the Red Sox should pick up Carl Crawford or should they sign the Phillies' Jayson Werth for the seemingly vacant Outfielder's job in 2011.  Mike Cameron and his kidney stones are probably doubling over in pain at the thought that 25 games into his Red Sox career there is already a clamor to replace him.  But nevermind, who would you rather have Jayson Werth or Carl Crawford?

Crawford is a speedy leftfielder who has absolutely killed the Red Sox over the last 7 years, ever since his 2003 rookie campaign in Tampa Bay.  He would be good complement to Jacoby Ellsbury, who would tickled pink to be moving back to Centerfield despite his mysterious broken ribs.  The concern, of course is that Crawford already joins a lineup that showcases numerous 15 - 20 home runs and 75-90 RBIs guys, including Dustin Pedroia, Kevin Youkilis, David Ortiz and JD Drew.  The Red Sox do not necessarily need another 2 or 6 hitter, they need a clean up hitter who could hit 35 home runs.

Werth seems to make a little more sense when you simply look at his place in the lineup.  He would make a good fit in the 4 or 5 hole sandwiched between Ortiz, Youkilis and whomever the Red Sox get to replace Beltre at Third/First Base.  He has slightly more power than Crawford 27 vs 19 in 2010.  But his numbers suffered considerably from his breakout 2009 season.  Considering he is 32 years old, is this a signal that he is slowing down in this post steroids era?  Further, he plays RIGHTFIELD.  Notwithstanding Werth's agent Scott Boras proclaiming Werth as the next coming of Mickey Mantle and Willie Mays, Werth is still a Rightfielder.  Where is J.D. Drew going to play (I can't believe I'm asking that)?

As I listen to the radio arguments, I couldn't decide who I would want either.  So I asked the boys who they would take.  I merely extracted Crawford's statistics and Werth's statistics and had them choose without knowing what players they were choosing from.

Player 1:
2010:  184 hits, 30 doubles, 13 triples, 19 home runs, 90 RBIs, 47 stolen bases
Career:  1480 hits, 215 doubles, 105 triples, 104 home runs, 592 RBIs, 409 stolen bases

Player 2:
2010:  164 hits, 46 doubles, 2 triples, 27 home runs, 85 RBIs, 13 stolen bases
Career:  684 hits, 138 doubles, 15 triples, 120 home runs, 406 RBIs 77 stolen bases

After careful inspection, I was able to elicit the following brief responses from the boys (who were annoyed that I wouldn't tell them who the players were in the first place)

G: "What does career mean?  Whatever, I like Player 1 because he has 184...ummm...what do you call them?  Oh right, hits.  And he had 215 double in his career.  I only had five in my career."  (and those were grounders between the three second basemen and the four shortstops in his little league game)

C:  After pushing his brother out of the way.  "I like Player 1.  He would lead the Red Sox to the World Series.  He has a lot of home runs, hits and stolen bases, especially 1480 hits in his career.  And Dad I know who you're talking about.  He's on the Marlins isn't he?"  He was proud of himself, although he got the team wrong.

As you can see both of the boys, simply looking at the statistics, both like Crawford.  As I'm writing down the statistics, I have to admit that the numbers are tough to argue with.  Crawford has been consistent for years compared to Werth and the comparison of their career stats bears that out.  Despite Werth being a character (see Werth's beard) and the Red Sox could use some interesting character in the clubhouse to loosen things up, Werth could easily turn into a seven year contract that the Red Sox regret two years in.  Meanwhile, Crawford would likely flourish in Anaheim/Los Angeles or in New York.

And with Crawford in the fold, that's one less player to steal 5 bases a game against the Red Sox.

The verdict is in.  There is a big difference between Carl Crawford and Jayson Werth.  Their slugging and other power statistics are not so much different that Crawford would be seen as a liability in the Red Sox lineup.  But Crawford fits the Red Sox need in Left Field and adds dimensions of speed and defense that that management also appreciates.  I'm in the Crawford camp.

No comments:

Post a Comment