Champ or Chump: JP Crawford & Cameron Maybin

Don't have an account?
Join the Best Live Fantasy Chat Community!

Lost password? [X]

Receive free daily analysis:

NFL    NBA    MLB

Already have an account? Log in here.

[X]

Forgot Password


[X]

The list of top prospects given a taste of the major leagues expanded by one last Tuesday night, as the Phillies decided to take a look at shortstop JP Crawford. Anybody with his pedigree deserves fantasy consideration, but his numbers figure to be underwhelming at first.

It seemed like we were done analyzing players who changed address, but Cameron Maybin, Justin Upton, and Justin Verlander all changed teams at the last possible second. Upton is a superstar you either have or you don't, so there is little need to look at him. I've had plans for Verlander all season, so we'll look at him later. That leaves Maybin, who is analyzed below. Let's get started!

Ownership rates provided are from Yahoo! leagues.

Editor's note: Purchase an NFL Premium Pass (including Draft Kit + DFS), and get MLB Premium for free! Whoa. Check out our NFL and MLB Premium tools, and crush your leagues. Sign Up Now!

 

The Fantasy Jury is Out

JP Crawford (SS, PHI) 4% Owned

Crawford collected his first MLB hit in his big league debut, but did nothing of fantasy note. Surprisingly, he didn't do much of fantasy note on the farm either. He slashed .243/.351/.405 with 15 homers and five steals in 556 PAs at Triple-A this season, a meh campaign that is actually a step up from his .244/.328/.318 line with four homers and seven steals over 385 PAs at the level a year ago. That triple slash is not a typo--his OBP was higher than his SLG in the minors last year.

Crawford managed this bizarre statistical feat in his final season at Double-A as well, compiling a .265/.398/.390 line with three homers and five steals in 166 PAs. He had a more normal triple slash (.265/.354/.407, five homers, seven steals) in his first taste of Double-A in 2015 (405 PAs), but none of these seasons really move the needle in fantasy.

Crawford's best offensive skill is an elite batting eye. He struck out just 17.4% of the time against a BB% of 14.2% at Triple-A this year, numbers that came close to replicating his 15.3% K% and 10.9% BB% from his first exposure to the level. He was even better at Double-A, walking more often (18.1% BB%, 12.1% BB%) than he struck out (12.7% K%, 11.1% K%) in both of the seasons that he played there. Crawford's plate discipline is clearly MLB-ready, but it may not be as good as you would think.

Philadelphia's Double-A affiliate is in Reading, and their park is effectively Coors Field. It inflates offense so much that Rhys Hoskins failed to turn heads with 38 dingers and a .281/.377/.566 line there last season. In this light, Crawford's work at the level is pretty poor. He proved that he has a good batting eye and literally nothing else.

Let's start with his pop. Crawford lifted the baseball in both of his Double-A seasons (44.1% FB% last year, 43.9% the year before), but did absolutely nothing with his fly balls (HR/FB rates of 6.1% and 3.7%, respectively). Citizens Bank Park favors hitters, but Crawford's minor league resume suggests that he won't be able to parlay that into even average power production.

His FB% wasn't quite as high at Triple-A (38.9% this year, 36.8% last), and his HR/FB was still below average (10.5%, 3.9% respectively). At 22 years old, Crawford remains young enough to fill out his frame and add considerable power. It won't happen this year though, and counting on him in 2018 is also ill advised.

He stole a handful of bags in the minors, but he never ran often enough to be a fantasy difference maker. Worse, his success rates are consistently below par. His five steals this year came with four CS, and he was only 7-for-11 at Triple-A last year. His Double-A performance was no better, as he went five-for-eight last year and seven-for-nine the year before. He swiped 24 bags between two levels in 2014, but the 14 CS (a 63% success rate) suggest that he will not run much at the MLB level.

Crawford has never posted a league average BABIP in the minors either, compiling a .275 BABIP at Triple-A this year, .284 at Triple-A last year, .295 at Double-A last year, and .289 at Double-A in 2015. His LD% was consistently below league average until he reached Triple-A (21.7% last year, 20.4% this), explaining some of his struggles. Still, his low HR/FB and poor BABIP numbers suggest that his batted balls do not have any oomph behind them, a problem superior MLB pitching will only exasperate.

Crawford is well-regarded for his glove, but it didn't stop the Phils from debuting their future shortstop at 3B. They also hit him seventh, suggesting a role unlikely to produce a lot of counting stats. Crawford doesn't appear to be able to hit, hit for power, or run enough to help a fantasy roster right now. This will likely undermine his excellent plate discipline, as there will be no reason to throw him a ball. A hard pass is probably the right play in all formats save dynasty, where he might be a worthy long term project.

Verdict: Chump

 
Cameron Maybin (OF, HOU) 13% Owned

Most of Maybin's fantasy owners drafted him for his speed, an area his 30 steals (six CS) have delivered in. His .234/.333/.363 line with eight homers in 404 PAs is less exciting, however. The bad news is that he is likely to continue underwhelming in the power categories. The good news is that his average is due for an uptick.

Maybin has never hit too many fly balls, posting a FB% of 26.7% this year, 21.7% last year, and a 26.2% rate over his career. The few flies he hits have historically been underwhelming as well, as this season's HR/FB (11.3%) is higher than his career mark (8.9%). He is pulling his flies at the same rate he always has (16.9% vs. 16.7% career), but an increase in average airborne exit velocity (91.3 mph vs. 89.7 last year) and the increased power numbers league-wide support the moderate increase. His Brls/BBE is also up (3.3%, 2.8% last year), but both numbers are atrocious. If you need power, look elsewhere.

If you need average and speed, you should be able to get them from Maybin. His .284 BABIP is significantly below his career mark (.318), but most of his peripherals continue to support an elevated BABIP. He's fast, so his ground balls usually post above average BABIPs (.264 career). This year, his BABIP on grounders is only .230. He hits a ton of grounders (57.1% GB% this year), so his BABIP on ground balls has a large influence on his overall numbers. His average exit velocity on grounders is down a tick (86.2 mph vs. 84.4 this year), but it shouldn't have this much of an impact. A rebound appears likely.

Maybin's 16.2% LD% is also due for an increase, though his career rate of 17.8% suggests that it won't be as big a boost as it could be. The few liners he has hit have also underperformed thus far (.605 BABIP vs. .706 career), a data point that makes little sense considering his improved airborne exit velocity. Maybin rarely pops out (7% IFFB% this season, 9.2% career), so his low BABIP is not the product of a pop-up problem either.

Maybin also brings strong plate discipline to the table. His 12.4% BB% is well above average for a pure speedster. He almost never chases pitches outside of the zone (21.4% chase), so he should continue walking at a high clip. His 20.3% K% is also better than average, with an 8.1% SwStr% suggesting possible upside in the area. Many of his whiffs have occurred on pitches outside of the zone (65.2% O-Contact% last year, 56.2% this year), offerings where contact typically produces poor outcomes anyway.

You might assume that Maybin's counting stats got better as a result of the trade to Houston, but he is now alternating between sixth and ninth in the order instead of leading off for the Angels. Houston is the better team, but there is no Mike Trout equivalent hitting behind him anymore.

Maybin is not right for every roster due to a lack of power, but somebody in every league could use an elite base thief. Add in batting average upside, and a lot of owners would do well to add him on waivers.

Verdict: Champ

 

More Player Outlooks

 

Premium Tools & DFS Research

Get a free trial of our powerful MLB Premium Tools. Our famous DFS Optimizer & Lineup Generator, daily Matchup Ratings, expert DFS Lineups/Cheat Sheets, and more.

Sign Up Now!