Written by: Jeff Young
Brandon Crawford has developed a reputation as a slow starter, but it feels like he never really got going with the bat in 2019.
The longtime Giants shortstop posted a .228/.304/.350 line to go along with a 75 OPS+. That OPS+ indicates that Crawford’s stat line was 25 percent worse than the league average hitter.
That level of productivity is difficult to justify, regardless of how good a player is defensively.
The problem with Crawford is that his glove is also not what it once was. The three-time Gold Glove winner is known for his incredible range, and for making difficult plays look easy.
However, his defense has been on a downward trend since 2016, when he posted 20 Defensive Runs Saved (DRS). In 2019, Crawford posted 0 DRS and a 0.0 Ultimate Zone Rating (UZR). These defensive metrics suggest that the 32-year-old has become an average shortstop. At times, the eye test may disagree, as he continued to make some stellar plays, but it seemed like Crawford lost a step in 2019.
From a defensive standpoint, Crawford was a disappointment. The glove has always been better than the bat, so any offensive production was a bonus. However, the question will be whether the glove can return to its Gold Glove form as Crawford enters his age-33 season.
With two years and $30.4 million remaining on his contract, which includes a full no-trade clause, the Giants will likely not be able to find a trade partner. If Crawford’s overall decline carries into next season, he could quickly see diminished playing time.