Wednesday, March 2, 2011
30 A's in 30 Days: Coco Crisp
Acquired: Signed as free agent (December 23, 2009).
Contract: Signed through 2011 (eligible for free agency after 2011).
Position: Starting centerfielder; hoping his tweets get better once the season starts.
2011 Projected BA/OBP/SLG: .273/.339/.399
2010 Season: In the A's final exhibition game, Crisp fractured his left pinky finger while sliding into second base. Consequently, he didn't make his regular season debut until late May. Crisp went 2 for 3 with a pair of RBI in that game, but only made one more start before returning to the disabled list with a rib cage injury. Now, for those who don't know, light-skinned African-Americans such as Coco and myself are often stereotyped as "soft" within the black community. This insensitive myth should've been shattered when Crisp courageously returned to hit .304/.360/.446 in August and September. But, then he broke the same pinky on September 18.
2011 Over/Under: If not for the time missed to injuries last year, Crisp might've approached his production level from 2004 in Cleveland or 2007 in Boston. His above projection isn't that far off from his career numbers, but I like the OVER. An improved offense and stability in the #2 and #3 spots in the batting order -- behind Crisp -- certainly can't hurt. For what it's worth, he's projected to play in only 106 games. Even The Bill James Handbook is a hater.
By the Numbers: +5 -- I haven't played Strat-O-Matic Baseball since the 1990s, but I'm going to guess that Crisp's throwing arm will earn him the most infamous -- albeit imaginary -- rating in this year's card set. Crisp has never been known for his hose and after 2009 surgery on both shoulders (including a torn right labrum) baserunners now regularly challenge him, often beating two or three-bounce throws back to the infield. Sorry, Coco, but I was spoiled by having Andy Van Slyke -- at his defensive apex -- roaming centerfield for me in Strat-O-Matic.
Surefire 2011 Prediction: It appears the Coco Crisp "cereal" jokes have mercifully run their course, so it's time for the mainstream sports community to find a new punch line. From time to time, Crisp will take his braids out and let the afro flow. At some point this season, an especially uninspired producer will dust off Oscar Gamble's baseball card during a Crisp at-bat and flash an on-screen "separated at birth" bit. No one will laugh.
Old School Rap Track for the Season: Grand Larceny, Ice-T