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Friday, February 22, 2013
Computers vs. Scout: Carl Crawford

By Mark Saxon

Whom to trust, a computer or a scout? By now, every team in the major leagues blends both approaches. So, we thought we’d try to give a fuller picture of what to expect from some of the Dodgers’ key players this season by surveying a veteran scout who covers the Dodgers regularly, and then assembling two of the better-known computer projection systems, ZiPS and Bill James.

Final installment: Carl Crawford.

ZiPS: .269, 11 home runs, 49 RBIs, 21 stolen bases.
James: .274, 16 home runs, 68 RBIs, 36 stolen bases.
Scout: .275, 10 home runs, 60 RBIs, 30 stolen bases.

Scout's take:
At one time, he was a very, very good outfielder. I don't think that's the case any more. Carl doesn't throw well and now he's coming off elbow surgery. It shows up in center field more than in left. You've got to give him a chance, but if I was predicting the future, I'd have my bases covered. If you get a decent average out of him and the speed is still there, he can have some value. But what if he doesn't run like he once did? All of a sudden now you're taking away run-saving capability and defensive range as well as his primary offensive weapon.

Carl's a good example of why you have to have good roster management. You'd better have a starter in mind in case his injuries crop back up, a guy you could put out there for a month or two. It could happen the first month of the season or it could happen during the season. With his history, they can't count on having him for 162 and I look at their roster and don't really see an alternative you'd want playing every day.
Consensus: Solid contributor, if healthy.