Heading into 2022, JP Crawford was coming off his best season so far in the majors. He played great defense, was worth a 3.8 WAR, and looked like he was going to be the Mariners answer at SS.
Still, some questions remained. Would he be able to continue to improve? Could he even play in 2022 at the same level that he did in 2021? Plenty of fans out there would’ve been happy with a repeat performance. Even though he didn’t look like someone capable of being a franchise-altering player, he was still a great shortstop. Doing it in back-to-back years would alleviate a lot of people’s worries. Unfortunately, he wasn’t quite able to do that.
For 2022, Mariners SS JP Crawford gets a grade of C+
It does seem like Crawford was a bit lucky in 2021. Not a ton, and it’s not something that players can’t replicate. There are plenty of guys out there who play their whole career with an above-average BABIP. Whether it’s from hitting the ball hard, or having a good eye and being able to place the ball into good areas, it’s not uncommon.
With Crawford, he had a BABIP of .320 in 2021 and it dropped to .275 this year. That’s a big reason why we saw his average drop from .273 to .243. Walks were a huge part of his game this year, as he increased his BB rate by 29%, which is why his OBP actually went up a single point from .338 to .339.
Unfortunately, we didn’t see much pop from JP Crawford. Last year, he hit 9 HR and 37 2B. I think double-digit bombs was the ceiling, so watching him hit just six this year was expected. What hurt was seeing just 24 2B, which is why his SLG dropped from .376 all the way to .336.
His defense also dropped a lot as well. He had a negative RDRS (Defensive runs saved above average), totaling -3, which was an 11 run drop from last year. He also had two more errors, which may seem like an acceptable variance, but it’s tougher to swallow when you see he had 120 fewer chances this year.
He was still solid, don’t get me wrong. A 2.8 WAR is solid, and you can’t really complain about it. Crawford is a pretty good player… but that might be his realistic ceiling. It’s why so many are wondering if the Mariners should go after one of the bigger names at SS, and move Crawford over to 2B.
I like JP Crawford. I want him to stay on the team, as I think that he is a huge part of the team’s identity. Their swagger. Their love for the game. He just doesn’t seem like he is ever going to be one of the top-line players on a Championship team. Just one of the solid backbones, and we should all be okay with that.