While the San Francisco Giants shortstop has had some ups-and-downs offensively, Brandon Crawford is a must watch every night.
“Hot dog, that Brandon Crawford sure can play some ball,” is a phrase (or at least a variant of it) that has come out of my mouth, and probably many mouths of San Francisco Giants fans, more than once this season.
And for good reason too. Crawford has been outstanding for the San Francisco Giants this year. We all know how gifted he is with the glove, and this year he’s shown us that his bat isn’t just a fluke.
Crawford made his debut in 2011 and promptly introduced himself to us in Will Clark fashion by hitting a grand slam in his first at-bat.
Of course, this was a bit misleading as in his first few seasons his glove was more of a commodity than his bat. He wowed us with dazzling plays, but it took him a while to sure up his game and not make errors on simple plays.
Then, 2015 was his real breakout year as he showed he was more than just a superb fielder with his 21 home runs and 84 RBIs.
That year he won his first Gold Glove and a Silver Slugger, making him the first Giant to win both since Barry Bonds in 1997.
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He was rewarded with a $75 million extension after the season for his efforts.
After respectable numbers and a couple more Gold Gloves in 2016 and 2017, it was reasonable to wonder whether Crawford would be able to take his bat to the next level.
He’s answered that question with aplomb thus far this season as he boasts a batting average well North of .300 and has continued to show why he’s easily one of the best defensive players in the game.
At his current pace, he’s a lock to start in the All-Star Game, which would be his second appearance including 2015.
Of course, his play has also garnered some MVP chatter, which I think is subject to a great deal of change with cold slumps and what not, but is certainly deserved.
This can really be the year when Crawford makes a name for himself amongst casual baseball fans. He doesn’t have the flash of a Nolan Arenado or a Manny Machado, which means it’s easy for him to fly under the radar (making him perfect for the Giants).
A start in the ASG and a solid second half would go a long way towards him getting the respect he deserves for spoiling us consistently with his stellar defense and hot bat.