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Crawford has been terrific at the top of the Dodgers lineup.
Of all the new players the Dodgers have acquired since last summer, left fielder Carl Crawford came with the most questions about his future performance. After signing a seven-year, $142 million free-agent contract with the Red Sox in 2011, Crawford endured two injury-plagued seasons that made him persona non grata in Boston.
Los Angeles seized the opportunity to acquire a beleaguered player with some good years still ahead of him. But the Dodgers would have to wait until this season to see the gamble payoff, and Crawford has rewarded the team handsomely thus far.
Crawford is hitting .412 with an incredible .474 OBP while filling the Dodgers’ biggest void from last year: A competent leadoff hitter. He has also scored nine runs, stolen two bases (though he has also been caught twice) and drawn four walks early on.
The walks are big, because at this current rate, Crawford would draw more than 60 walks this season. His previous career high is 51.
His availability for Opening Day was in question ever since Crawford underwent season-ending Tommy John surgery last August. Despite an early setback in spring training, he was starting in left field when the Dodgers opened the season against the Giants on April 1.
Los Angeles has been cautious in its handling of Crawford, sitting him in two of the team’s first 10 games. When he’s been on the field, however, the results have reminded people of the player who made four All-Star appearances for the Tampa Bays Rays between 2004 and 2010.
Crawford is not likely to contend for the NL batting title, but the strong start is a clear indication that he is not a shell of his former self. With five more seasons left on his contract, the Dodgers should be relieved to know that Crawford is still capable of making good on the deal.