In my profile of Covelli Crisp from last week, there were a few items I did not cover that I wanted to spend some more time on.
First of all, the direction of Coco Crisp’s batted-balls seems fairly important, considering where his home games are played. Crisp is not so much a power hitter as he is a gap hitter; the Green Monster looms in left field, and cuts down on Crisp’s power to that side of the diamond. One would think that in response to this Crisp would become more of a pull hitter when batting left-handed in order to take advantage of the gaps on the other side of the outfield, but he ended up mostly pulling grounders to the first base side, many of which became outs.
This chart, courtesy of fellow Prospectus author Dan Fox (you can download the program here) shows Crisp’s groundball tendencies from 2003-2006 as a left-handed batter:
Crisp has pulled a few more balls to the right side of the infield than in previous years, although there is no significant change in comparison to 2005. The more significant changes in batted-ball direction are within his line drives:
Crisp’s line drive rates in right field dropped down to 26.8 percent after hovering near the 40 percent mark for three straight seasons. Now, the sample size is too small to draw any definite conclusions from, but it is interesting that he couldn’t seem to pull the ball with the same authority as he had in the past. A lot of this most likely has to do with his finger injury; Crisp seemed to hit more balls to left and center field, but did not find many hits in any of those places, at least not in Fenway Park:
Crisp barely hit any balls to right-center or right at Fenway, where his ability to hit balls into the gap would have made him more productive offensively. Looking at the 2004-2005 data from Jacobs field, you can see that Crisp had more balls drop in for hits in those very same places. With a healthy knuckle in 2006, Crisp may be able to pull more line drives and flyballs like he did in his Cleveland days to the Red Sox. With his speed on the basepaths, a few more balls into the gap could easily turn into doubles or even triples if they land in the triangle in right center. Time will tell; Crisp is a player I plan on following at various intervals during 2007 with Unfiltered. Stay tuned.