Blue Bios: Carl Crawford

Carl Demonte Crawford     25

Born: August 5, 1981 in Houston, Texas

Bats: Left  Throws: Left      6’2″ 215 lbs.

 

Carl Crawford is ready for a fresh start in Los Angeles. Photo: Kim Klement-US PRESSWIRE

As a child growing up in the Houston, Texas area, Carl Crawford was on the same little league team as Michael Bourn. At Jefferson Davis High School, Carl Crawford excelled in sports. He lettered in football, basketball, and baseball. In his senior year, Crawford had a whopping batting average of .563 with 29 stolen bases for his baseball team. Many colleges wanted Crawford to play for their sports organizations. He was offered scholarships to play basketball for UCLA, and he also was able to play football for Nebraska, USC, Oklahoma, Florida, and Tulsa. He instead turned down the offers in order to play baseball professionally.

Crawford was drafted by the Tampa Bay Devil Rays in the second round of the 1999 draft. He made his MLB debut on July 20, 2002 at just 20-years old for Tampa Bay in a game versus the Toronto Blue Jays. He collected his first Major League hit in his first game which was a two-RBI single hit off of Steve Parris. He played in 63 games during his debut year for the Devil Rays and hit .259.

The next season Crawford was an everyday player for the Devil Rays. He finished his sophomore season with a .281 batting average, 54 RBIs, and he lead the American League with 55 stolen bases. In 2004, Crawford’s speed was utilized to garner 59 stolen bases which once again led the league and was the second-highest in the Majors. He finished the season with a .296 batting average, 11 homeruns, and 55 RBIs. He also led the league with 19 triples. In fact, Crawford has the most triples than any other active baseball player with 114.

By 2005, Crawford was on top of his game. He batted .301 with 15 homeruns, 81 RBIs, and a career

August 15, 2012; Baltimore, MD, USA; Boston Red Sox left fielder Carl Crawford (13) at bat in the third inning against the Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. The Orioles defeated the Red Sox 5 – 3. Mandatory Credit: Joy R. Absalon-US PRESSWIRE

high 194 hits. He led the league again with 15 triples, and he ranked third in stolen bases with 46. In 2006, Crawford continued his success in Tampa Bay. He posted a .305 batting average and 18 homeruns.  In fact, Crawford became the only other player besides the great Rogers Hornsby in MLB history to increase his batting average and homeruns in five consecutive seasons.

In 2007, Crawford battled a sore wrist through some of the season which decreased his homerun production a bit down to 11. Yet he still posted a career best .315 batting average that year and compiled 80 RBIs and 50 stolen bases. He was named to the All-Star team for the second time as a Devil Ray, and he was now known as their franchise player.

On May 3, 2009 Crawford tied a modern day record by stealing six bases in one game against his future team the Boston Red Sox. He would go on to steal a career high 60 stolen bases that season. He finished the year with a .305 average with 15 homeruns and 68 RBIs. He was also named the 2009 All-Star game M.V.P. after he made a leaping catch at the wall to rob Brad Hawpe of a homerun.

In 2010, Crawford had another great year in Tampa Bay. He hit a career high 19 homeruns and 90 RBIs. He stole 47 bases and collected 13 triples while hitting .307. He became an All-Star for the fourth time in his career representing Tampa Bay, and he also garnered a Silver Slugger and Gold Glove Award.

 

Carl Crawford was the league leader in stolen bases four times in his career. Photo: Tim Farrell/THE STAR-LEDGER via US PRESSWIRE

Crawford was one of the most sought after free agents in the winter of 2010, and he proceeded to sign a big seven-year $142 million dollar contract with the Boston Red Sox. The Red Sox had just traded for Adrian Gonzalez a couple days before. Crawford disappointed Boston fans by only hitting .255 with 11 homeruns and 56 RBIs in 2011. His stolen bases also dramatically plummeted down to just 18 which was the lowest in his career since his shortened debut season back in 2002. Crawford then had to undergo wrist surgery after injuring it in January 2012. He also had a sprained ligament in his elbow, and he started the 2012 season on the disabled list. Crawford returned from his disability stint on July 16, 2012. He played in just 31 games in 2012, and he finished with a .282 batting average with 3 homeruns and 19 RBIs before succumbing to season-ending Tommy John surgery in August.

On August 25, 2012, Crawford was traded to the Dodgers along with teammates Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett, and Nick Punto in exchange for James Loney, Ivan DeJesus Jr., Allen Webster, Jerry Sands, and Rubby De La Rosa.

The Perfect Storm’s career batting average is .292, and he has 432 stolen bases and 118 homeruns in his 11 seasons.

Crawford has been one of the best defensive outfielders in baseball, and he has excellent range.

Today the Dodgers introduced Carl Crawford to the media as the Dodgers’ new left fielder. Crawford thinks that he should be ready for Spring Training, and his rehabilitation from Tommy John surgery is ahead of schedule. What is concerning is that his left wrist still “flares up,” and although he had surgery on it last spring it could be an issue for the remainder of his career.

When speaking about his disappointing time in Boston, Crawford has this to say:

 

“There’s no secret this was a tough year in Boston. I wouldn’t want any player to go through. To get out of that situation is definitely sort of a relief.”

 

Crawford will likely lead-off for the Dodgers or hit second in the lineup depending on whether Dee Gordon or Luis Cruz wins the starting role in the infield next season.

With Crawford and Gordon’s combined speed, the Dodgers could possibly break records in stolen bases if both men are on top of their game. Crawford’s excellent defense will also bolster the black hole that has been left field for quite some time for the Dodgers.

Crawford has received tons of flack regarding his failure in Boston which is understandable, but he now has a fresh start in Los Angeles in a new league. Can Crawford regain his form with the Dodgers and start a new chapter in his career? The Dodgers apparently are banking on it since they owe him tons of money through 2017. He’s definitely a risky acquisition, but also one which could potentially have a huge pay off. Let’s see if Crawford can steal the hearts of Angelinos.

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