Perhaps the most criticized deal of the Mariners’ first rebuilding off-season was the trade that brought J.P. Crawford to Seattle to compete to be the franchises shortstop of the future. But how do the projections feel about Crawford?
Perhaps the most well known of projections, Fangraphs “Steamer” projections are widely used in the baseball writers community as a baseline for where to begin to attempt to make educated guesses on a player’s upcoming success. In this series, we will look at how Steamer projects your Seattle Mariners at every position.
But before we begin, it is important to remember that while Steamer is a lot more than random guessing. It is a complicated process and deserves a lot more credit than just being called a “wild guess”.
However, it is also important to remember that at the end of the day, these projections are just that; projections. But with all that in mind, let’s kick off our series by looking at Steamer’s opinion of how the Mariners SS J.P. Crawford will perform in 2020.
J.P. Crawford Steamer Projections: 149 games, 638 PAs, .233/.324/.372, 14 home runs, 8 steals, 91 wRC+, 2.2 fWAR
Now, these numbers aren’t going to wow anybody, including J.P. Crawford. But Steamer is more or less projecting Crawford to repeat his previous 162 games, though they were scattered over 3 seasons. But we have seen the ceiling of Crawford last June, and that is an All-Star player.
But Crawford doesn’t have the skill to carry a .338/.413/.569 for more than a month, but he doesn’t need to. Crawford has a relatively high floor, thanks to his above-average defense, base-running, and an 11% walk rate in his career, making him a good candidate to keep him as an everyday player for a good while.
Steamer’s projected 2.2 fWAR means he would be an average MLB player (2 WAR is a starter). Crawford has some swing tweaks to make and needs to get stronger in his lower half, but a .250/.340/.425 season isn’t out of the question.
Crawford will be looking to prove he should be cemented as an everyday player for the next Mariners winner and he will get a long leash to show it. In the meantime, Crawford will provide some highlight-reel plays and some surprising pop as well as a stable walk rate.
Steamer’s projection seems fair, but there is still something in Crawford that we have yet to see. Whether or not we will ever see it on a regular basis remains to be seen, but 2020 will be his to shine.