Coco Crisp has got a glove
July 16th, 2007 by czar

Read this a couple days ago (and it’s linked in the sidebar), but Seth Mnookin picked his 2007 first half MVP– and, surprise! It’s Coco Crisp.

But what’s made Crisp the first half’s MVP is what he’s doing on defense. This is something I’ve been paying attention to since May, when Bill James wrote that the Sox’s surge happened at precisely the same time that Coco became the best center fielder since Micky Mantle. As Bill wrote, “It seems to me that the BIGGEST factor in our team’s performance over the last week or so has been that Coco has been just unbelievable in center field…he’s just catching EVERYTHING that looks like it might be trouble. There’s been no gap in right center, no gap in left center, nothing getting over his head and nothing has been landing in front of him.�

This has been valuable for any number of reasons: first, and most obviously, because he’s saved a lot of hits. He’s also given the corner outfielders more freedom to cheat out. Finally — and this is crucial — he’s given pitchers the confidence to pitch to contact when need be; they know that if a ball is hit anywhere near to him, he’ll come up with it.

Another interesting tidbit from Sean McAdam a few weeks back in the Projo:

But the true measure of Crisp’s 2007 season is found in more arcane numbers, not readily available or found on a Web site. According to data compiled and maintained by one major-league club, Crisp is playing the best center field of any outfielder in the major leagues — and by a long shot.

The club, which asked not to be identified, uses a complicated metric to measure defensive play, including range and coverage. Based on its findings, tabulated monthly, Crisp is playing at a “plus-24� level in center field, meaning that through the end of May, Crisp had already recorded putouts on two dozen more players than the average center fielder.

While the data can’t be easily extrapolated for an entire season — there’s no guarantee that Crisp will finish at a plus-72, for example — he’s on pace to easily top last year’s best full-season grade, a plus-30, earned by Willie Taveras, then with Houston.

But seriously; remember at the beginning of the year when everyone was clamoring for WMP to be our starting CF because he was better than Crisp both offensively AND defensively?

Posted in In the news

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  • Traversing the land that is known as Red Sox Nation, The Czar Who Wears Red Sox is an attempt at compiling a repertoire of my ever-so-sexy forum posts (when I'm too lazy to write my own damn entry) and other random baseball thoughts that strike. For those whose posts serve as the inspiration of my epiphanies and rants, do not be angry, but merely, be honored that you have achieved such status. Names will never be revealed. Feedback appreciated, as this is a work in progress.

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