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On the surface, his numbers in Double-A don't look that hot (.281, seven homers in half a season), but he combined for a .295 average and 33 doubles at two levels. Oakland knows a thing or three about hitting, and I expect Crosby's strike zone judgment to improve in '03, which should boost his production across the board. The biggest problem for him will be finding a place to play in Oakland.
B.D. writes: It seems like the A's are really banking on shortstop Bobby Crosby to step into Miguel Tejada's shoes next year. But he's only hitting .294 in the Triple-A Pacific Coast League, and striking out in more than 25 percent of his at-bats. The translation of that seems a little scary; I'm thinking Crosby is a poor man's Jose Hernandez. And he only hit .281 at Double-A Midland last year, where people like Adam Piatt hit .340. What are your thoughts on Crosby?
Crosby has been on a bit of a hot streak lately, and has improved his numbers a bit since B.D. sent in his question.
Playing for the Sacramento River Cats in the PCL, Crosby is now hitting .303 with a .389 OBP and a .533 SLG. He also has 20 steals to go with 29 doubles and 18 homers. In 413 at-bats, he's drawn 55 walks, but has also struck out 100 times, so B.D.'s concern about his strikeout rate remains valid. Crosby is playing pretty well defensively, making just 11 errors this year in 112 games, all at shortstop. Oakland GM Billy Beane told me several weeks ago that they are very happy with Crosby's progress with the glove, though there is still some concern about his range down the road.
I have liked Crosby since his days at Long Beach State, and felt he was a solid pick in the first round in '01. He is fun to watch; he really puts a charge in the ball when his swing is right. But his judgment of the strike zone is shaky at times. Oakland has worked with him on this, and his walk rate is higher this year, though the strikeouts remain a problem. His MLE last year shows him as a .250/.300/.400 type hitter, a poor man's Jose Hernandez as B.D. said. This year, he looks more like a .270/.330/.440 type hitter, significant growth compared to last year, but still not awesome.
At 23, Crosby still has development time ahead of him. I'm impressed with him in person, so perhaps I'm a bit more optimistic than the numbers should lead me to be. But I think he's going to be a good player.
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