Picking Carl Crawford

A.B. FromuthContributor IJune 5, 2008

I am a keeper-league man at heart, but this does not prevent me from dabbling in one or two single-season format leagues each year.

Every year I start doing my draft research at the beginning of February. The magazines start to come out, the articles on ESPN and CBSsportsline begin to appear, and all is right with the world...except one thing.

What the hell is Carl Crawford still doing as a projected first rounder? How can these people claim to be experts and pick the over-hyped Devil Ray, or Ray I should say, as a consensus 9-12 pick? It is patently absurd if you ask me!

And I don't think I'm alone. Last year, I did four single-season format leagues and not one had Crawford taken in the first round. Most of the participants were high-school grads and had a semblance of independent thought. 

This year, I did three of these leagues, and in only one of them was someone fooled into wasting his first-round pick on Juan Pierre 2.0. Needless to say, he is not doing so hot right now, and the prospects of a turn around don't look good.

But it's not all his fault. He does his research, but he is a mag-man through and through. Anything he reads in one of his fantasy magazines or draft supplements he holds as the ultimate truth, and he is not alone. Many fantasy newbies, and even a decent amount of vets, take the advice of these "experts" to heart.

So when Crawford was again listed as first rounder by four out of five mags ,and was seemingly "dangling" there at pick No. 10, Scott grabbed him, as did many other managers around the world I'm sure. 

But why? When you stop and think about it, he simply isn't that good, and he has virtually no business as a first-round pick. 

The first pick of your draft is your corner stone, your lifeblood. It is certainly not as important as it is in football, but sure enough, a misstep here and you can pretty much start getting excited about next year.

I have never, ever heard of anyone who chose Crawford in the first round in one of the last three years going on to any type of fantasy glory. It doesn't happen. It can't. Yeah, he is a 50-base threat, but he doesn't hit for a high average, he doesn't score a lot of runs, and he sure as shit doesn't hit home runs.

His only plus, if he has any besides the SBs, is that he has a good SB/RBI ratio. Over the last three seasons, Mr. Crawford has averaged about 95 runs, 15 HR, 79 RBI, and 52 bags. No doubt these are good numbers, but all he really does is give you piece of mind in one category. In today's game, everyone steals, with the exception of some of the veteran boppers like Guerrero, Ramirez, and Ortiz.

The new breed of boppers do it all, such that one speed demon no longer guarantees you success in that category, so why still overpay? 

The point of your first-round pick should be to collect the all-around best talent. Many people passed on Santana, Braun, Peavy, and Cabrera in order to take Crawford, and in doing so, they passed on an opportunity to give themselves the best foundation available.

Why grab Crawford's SBs in the first when you can get Brian Roberts in the third or Eric Byrnes in the fifth or sixth? Roberts, after all, plays second base and ensures you won't have to suffer through an entire season of Placido Polanco, Freddy Sanchez, or Kelly Johnson.

Outfield offers the largest bounty of serviceable talent. Each year you can put money on the fact that one or two legends will emerge from the waiver-wire heap at the outfield position.

Conversely, second-base talent is pretty much divied out in a first come, first serve format at draft time. If you leave the draft without a top-five second baseman, chances are that you are actively searching for another alternative.

It is high time that Carl was called out for being the draft killer that he is. So next year at draft time, when Crawford is again "dangling" on your draft board late in the first round, look the other way. He is not worth it friends, so much so that you probably shouldn't even feel tempted to take him.

Sure he is consistent and durable, but with the rise in SBs around the league, he would need to steal 70 in order to justify his pick.