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Brandon Crawford: Ring in Reality, Zero in Fantasy

As we make our way through Zach Sanders’ Shortstop End of Season Rankings, we are as obligated to steer you away from drafting some players as much as we are to recommend drafting others. Scrolling down the list, you’ll notice at number 30, we have World Series champion and recent Wilson Defensive Player of the Year Award winner Brandon Crawford with a -$7 value. He is, essentially, picking up the rear at the position. While newbies to the fantasy game and perhaps a few Bay Area homers could potentially get caught up in the World Series hype and wait so long on the shortstop/middle infield position that they happily settle for Crawford, it is our responsibility to tell you to snap out of it and get your head right if you want to win. Brandon Crawford ain’t winning you no fantasy championships.

Let’s face it. There are some guys out there that are great for the game of baseball but lousy for fantasy. They may be masterful defenders in the field, making slick plays worthy of an ESPN Web Gem, but with little or no offensive prowess, they are usually best left to the waiver wire. I remember back in the mid to late 90’s when the internet helped blow up the fantasy world and numerous friends of mine in New York were putting together leagues of all sorts. I laughed as guys continued to grab Rey Ordonez far earlier than he ever should have been drafted. He was on the highlight reels virtually every night, making some of the most spectacular plays you’ve seen while all the while offering up a single home run, a small handful of stolen bases, a dreadful average and even more woeful on-base percentage. Well now, here’s Crawford — more than ready to follow the same path.

OK, so maybe Crawford’s numbers are looking a little better than those of Ordonez, but really, not by much. Maybe he offers an extra home run or two, but given the fact that he strikes out 20-percent of the time, has a below-average walk rate, very limited power, minimal base-stealing skills, a batting average and OBP that are circling the bowl, and a spot reserved for him at the bottom of the order, he is not contributing to any sort of a fantasy championship run. And in sifting through his minor league totals, there doesn’t appear to be much growth on the horizon either. With below average contact rates, an 11.4-percent SwStrk% and a 47.2-percent ground ball rate, even a tasty-looking 22.7-percent line drive rate offers very little hope for the future. Some guys just aren’t cut out to hit, comparatively speaking of course.

Even if you were of the mindset that, at 26-years old, Crawford is just entering his prime and is still developing, you’re reaching here. He might be fun to watch on the highlight reel and if you’re a Giants fan, he’s certainly owed a debt of gratitude. But if you find yourself with Crawford on your 2013 fantasy roster, you probably did something very wrong at your draft.