As you may know, San Francisco's offense is struggling.
The team has had problems stranding runners on base and failing to provide run support for their tremendous pitching staff. While guys like Angel Pagan, Melky Cabrera and Buster Posey are off to good starts, there are weak links in the Giants' lineup.
One of those is Brandon Crawford.
Crawford has hit better lately, as his batting average has improved from just over .200 to near .250 (his BA is .232). While Crawford has 21 RBI and seems to always come through with the big hit, his batting average is inexcusable.
Since San Francisco is a team who struggles to hit with RISP, Crawford does help them there. When there are runners on base, he seems to deliver, usually with an extra-base hit down the line. However, his inability to start a rally has hurt the team.
And so has his fielding.
Crawford is one of those weird fielders. He seems to make all the tough plays, as some of his diving stops have found their way on ESPN. However, he also seems to struggle with some routine ground balls and pop-ups.
Just this year, Crawford has 12 errors (and the infield fly rule saved him from one more in a game against Texas). His fielding percentage has dropped from 97.2 percent last year to 95.8 percent this year, and he seems to have trouble when playing with the sun in his eyes.
Some could argue that Crawford is off to a good start, and they'd probably be right. Crawford has proven that he is a good fielder, and he is an above-average defensive shortstop. For teams looking for a good defensive shortstop, Crawford could be a good target.
For offense, not so much.
Crawford can hit with RISP, as he has shown this year. He only has one home run, but he does have 21 RBI. A lot of his hits drive in runs, and for teams struggling to hit with runners on base, Crawford could also be a target.
Shortstops aren't always the most powerful players, and it's rare for a shortstop to hit for 30-plus home runs. Never expect that from Crawford. He is a guy who hits line drives, and sometimes he gets jammed and hits a pop-up.
That's why he doesn't hit home runs. Expecting 10 homers in a season from Crawford is somewhat absurd, so if a team wants a powerful shortstop, Crawford is not the guy. If a team is looking for a shortstop who can hit at the top of the order and get on base a lot, Crawford isn't the guy.
San Francisco has had problems at shortstop, and if they could bring in an elite SS, their championship hopes would seem more realistic. Crawford is not elite, and he has not been playing well this year. However, for a team looking to win down the road, Crawford could be a good target.
Overall, Crawford is not a terrible player. Once he develops his fielding skills a little more, he will be an elite defensive shortstop. If the Giants want an elite shortstop to get on base at the top of the order, Crawford is not the guy to do that—not yet. Therefore, they should be looking to trade for a shortstop.
And teams who want a good defensive shortstop years down the road should be looking to trade for Crawford.