San Francisco Giants shortstop Brandon Crawford is blazing out of the gates of this 2013 Major League Baseball season.
Through 16 games, he is hitting .352 with 12 runs, three home runs and seven RBI. Regression is coming, as he is on pace for a .352-122-30-71-0 line, but can he continue to be a solid option in fantasy baseball leagues?
The power does not appear to be real.
Crawford is just one shy of his career high and had seven home runs in 631 at-bats entering the season. He only hit 20 home runs in 179 games at UCLA and 21 at the minor league level. Even getting to double-figures with this fast start seems improbable based on his history.
The batting average also seems suspect.
His .352 mark is buoyed by an unsustainable .381 BABIP. His numbers the past two seasons with the Giants were .307 and .228. It was .264 in 2011 for Triple-A Fresno. With 29 stolen bases at UCLA, 21 in the minors and two with the Giants, he just doesn't have the speed to sustain such a lofty BABIP.
In short, the luck will change.
Crawford could reach the 60 RBI mark. His 66 RBI extrapolate to 51.2 RBI in a 162-game schedule. Seeing a little growth there isn't out of the question. Still, that isn't starting fantasy shortstop material and is hardly even worthy of a middle infield slot on fantasy teams.
He had the same amount of runs (66) in his first two seasons, but that feels like the category that he could provide the most benefit. He isn't going to continue to score three runs every four games, but reaching 80 runs is within reach.
My suggestion is to ride Crawford while he's hot, but keep in mind that he is currently riding an 11-game hitting streak and has hit safely in 13 of the past 14 games.
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