Batting Seventh: Brandon Crawford, shortstop
While he did not have a Belt like breakout, Brandon Crawford had one of the best offensive seasons of his career in 2020. The slick-fielding shortstop posted a respectable .256/.326/.465 triple-slash. xBA (.238) and xSLG (.402) were a bit skeptical of the performance, but if he maintains his defensive value that’s okay. We’re already at the last third of the Giants lineup and have not even mentioned Buster Posey. Nothing better exemplifies how far this offense has come.
Crawford always works walks at a decent clip but tends to get caught in slumps that feed off some overaggressive tendencies. Those were few and far between this season. He credited the Giants new coaching staff with new and innovative ways to help their veteran hitters and perhaps that helped him more consistently have strong plate appearances.
Offensive expectations should remain limited for Crawford. He will turn 34-years old in January and the fact that he still played above-average defense last season is far more important to the Giants success. They have other hitters to carry the load offensively but have a dearth of alternatives defensively.
He has always struggled against left-handed pitchers and that remains the case. Daniel Robertson was acquired to potentially offer a platoon option, but he was non-tendered last week. He could re-sign on a minor-league deal. Of course, Mauricio Dubón has shown a knack for hitting southpaws and is a capable defensive shortstop, but he might have played his way into the everyday centerfielder role.