The shortstop position is usually a tough one to fill in fantasy baseball. If owners miss out on drafting a top five shortstop, or drafted someone like Jose Reyes who will miss three months, scouring the waiver wire is usually the way to go.
Right now, there is one guy out there that is standing out at the position, and that’s Brandon Crawford. The San Francisco Giants shortstop has gotten at least one hit in 13-of-17 games this season. Known mostly for his defense throughout his minor league and short major league career, he is showing an ability to hit – and for power – he’s never shown before.
Crawford, who hit just four home runs in 143 games last year, already has hit three in 17 games this season. He has shown better patience at the plate with a walk rate of 9.1 percent up from the 6.9 percent he put forth last year. He is also striking out less, whiffing 16.7 percent of the time down from 20 percent last season.
His BABIP (batting average on balls in play) is way up there at .364, which may indicate he’s getting lucky, but his overall approach at the plate has aided that. His current OBP of .409 is well above his .304 from last season. He is swinging at fewer balls out of the strike zone and making better contact on strikes as well. As he is picking and choosing the pitches he swings at more, his swinging-strike percentage is down and his contact rate is up over 91 percent.
If he continues to take this approach, he can continue to hit for a high average and drive in some runs in a solid Giants lineup. His power, which had kind of come out of nowhere, will likely dip over the course of the season. As he swings at better pitches, though, he will be able to drive the ball better and continue to at least hit for a decent slugging percentage. Crawford is certainly worth adding for those looking for shortstop help during his hot streak to start the season, and he could have more long-term value than one would think.