When the 2021 MLB All-Star Sport polls opened on June 3, I crammed out 5 ballots. I’ve voted a minimum of as soon as daily since. And each time, I voted for just about the identical group with a number of minor changes.
“Alright. Tyler O’Neill most likely deserves one vote. I assume I’ll vote for him as soon as as an alternative of Jesse Winker.”
“Jesus Aguilar ought to get a number of. He’s solely barely behind Max Muncy.”
“Devers and Ramirez are so shut. I assume I’ll break up my votes on them.”
One place I by no means wavered on was shortstop for the Nationwide League. Each time I got here to that part of the poll, I voted for Fernando Tatis Jr. I didn’t even have to consider it. It turned second nature — simply “Shortstop? Effectively, that’s Tatis, clearly.” I’ll have blinked on the considered Trea Turner, but it surely was by no means greater than a drive-by thought whereas I scrolled to search out Tatis’s title.
Nevertheless, final night time, I turned on the Giants-Rangers recreation and bought an surprising shock. Certain, I knew about Buster Posey turning again the clock to hit .333 with a .988 OPS. I knew Brandon Belt was being activated from the IL. I knew the Giants have been getting a variety of nice performances out of their starters Gausman, Wooden, Cueto, and DeSclafani, and I knew these have been an enormous motive why the Giants have one of the best document within the Nationwide League. I additionally knew that Brandon Crawford can be taking the sphere that night time because the Giants’ all-time leader in games played at shortstop.
There wasn’t a lot fanfare for Crawford’s achievement, which is sensible I assume. The sport was in Texas in spite of everything. I’m certain the Giants’ 2008 fourth-round choice will get his much-deserved ceremony when the group returns to Oracle Park. However that unimaginable achievement apart, Brandon Crawford can also be placing collectively one of the best offensive season of his profession and being vastly missed for it.
Sure, B-Craw is a two-time All-Star, but when we’re being actual, his 2018 bid was primarily because of a tremendously sizzling first half in addition to the truth that Corey Seager was injured and Trevor Story was off to a gradual begin. Crawford ended that season with a .394 slugging proportion. His offense has by no means been the primary draw although. The long-haired Adonis has been a mainstay on the 6-spot due to his potential with the glove. He’s gained three Gold Gloves over the course of his profession, and has accrued an encycolpedia’s value of web-gem performs all of the whereas. That being stated, his protection has dropped off lately. In 2019, Crawford completed with a defensive runs saved ranking of -10. His vary issue per 9 innings was the bottom of his profession, and he put up his second consecutive season with 16 errors. It appeared prefer it was the tip of the Crawford period in San Francisco. Certain, he’d most likely play there till his contract ended, however there was no approach the Giants have been going to carry him again.
Then 2021 occurred. Among qualified shortstops (Tatis has missed too many video games to qualify), Crawford is first in OPS, first in weighted on-base common, first in weighted runs created-plus, and first in slugging proportion. He’s placing up profession highs in each single offensive class other than batting common, and that may be attributed to a string of dangerous luck as Crawford’s BABIP is simply .284 — the bottom amongst certified shortstops with a minimum of a .740 OPS.
But regardless of these numbers, we by no means see Crawford’s title among the many recreation’s finest shortstops anymore. Possibly it’s too small a pattern measurement. Possibly it’s as a result of he’s 34 years previous. Possibly it’s as a result of he had his time within the highlight and now it’s time to let the following technology get the entrance seats. However when the 2021 All-Star Sport occurs, if I don’t see Crawford on the sideline for the Nationwide League, one thing is incorrect.
I nonetheless imagine Tatis deserves the beginning spot. There’s no denying that. He’s been electrical and has an OPS over 1.000 with 17 dwelling runs and extra stolen bases than anybody else within the Nationwide League. The reserve spot, nonetheless, ought to go to Crawford for sure. Trea Turner is the one different NL shortstop whose numbers come wherever shut.
I’m ashamed to say it took me till final night time to acknowledge Crawford’s improbable season. Except for breaking his franchise’s all-time document for video games at shortstop, Crawford additionally blasted two dwelling runs (bringing his season complete as much as 14 — second amongst shortstops) and had some nice defensive performs together with a pleasant backhand seize and throw to get Nate Lowe after he beat the shift. He’s the center and soul of this Giants franchise and has been arguably probably the most useful offensive participant on the Giants roster to date. So, if being one of the best participant on one of the best group isn’t worthy of an All-Star nod, I don’t know what’s.