Is Carl Crawford a Steal in the Third Round?

Carl Crawford gives owners high average and lots of steals as well as contributing in the other three categories. This led him to an ADP of 15 prior to the 2008 season. But finger and hamstring injuries led to a sub-par year for Crawford. This year, mock drafters are being cautious with the Tampa Bay outfielder, giving him an ADP of 29.

All four of the major projection systems see Crawford bouncing back to an average in the .290s this season. The difference is in how valuable they see that being worth. CHONE sees Crawford’s .298 as the 17th-best mark in the majors. Marcel shows his .292 as the 46th-best while Oliver has his .292 as the 31st-best.

The projection systems also show Crawford with 30+ SB. He fares better in this metric, as CHONE has him tied for seventh in the majors with 38 steals and Marcel has him tied for ninth with 32.

The problem is that these are Crawford’s best categories. He needs an average solidly-above .290 and SB totals well over 35 to merit his current ADP. That is because the predicted HR power has simply not materialized for Crawford. Only once in his six seasons as a regular has he cleared double digits in HR/FB rate. That came in 2006 when his rate was 12 percent and he hit a career-high 18 homers.

Before you spend a late-second, early third-round pick on Crawford, be sure you are comfortable projecting the stats for him to return that value. His career-best average is .315, his top mark in runs scored is 104 and his best RBI season is 81. And before you decide he is a lock to steal 50 bases because of his fabulous success ratios, ask how likely it is that Tampa Bay will allow him to attempt the 60-70 steals he has previously in his career, especially since he no longer slots in as the team’s leadoff hitter.

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Are you guys going to list the ADP’s? Or are you not allowed to? Also, are you guys going to post your own 200-some ranking of fantasy players? It would certainly help this bad-drafting, good-mid-season-adjusting, perennial 3rd-placer.