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Allen Craig is hitting .111 for the Red Sox and “couldn’t have looked more overmatched”

Sep 4, 2014, 3:19 PM EDT

allen craig getty Getty Images

When the Red Sox acquired Allen Craig from the Cardinals in the John Lackey trade they were hoping a change of scenery would help him rediscover his pre-2014 form, but instead his season-long struggles have become even more extreme.

Craig struck out in all four his plate appearances yesterday and is now hitting .111 with 15 strikeouts in 10 games for the Red Sox.

Before this season–or, perhaps more accurately, before injuring his foot late last season–Craig hit .306 with an .850 OPS through 372 career games, but now Sean McAdam of writes that Craig “couldn’t have looked more overmatched” and was “flailing at breaking balls way out of the strike zone.”

He’s under contract for $5.5 million in 2015, $9 million in 2016, $11 million in 2017, and $13 million or a $1 million buyout in 2018.

  1. freedomofspeechyesway - Sep 4, 2014 at 3:41 PM

    Yea, bring him from the NL to face AL pitching…THAT will help him.

    • scoochpooch - Sep 4, 2014 at 3:52 PM

      Bingo. I usually get destroyed for those kinds of comments.

      • fearlessleader - Sep 4, 2014 at 4:01 PM

        As you should. Craig has a lifetime .322 average in interleague play, but he’s struggled all year and is now dealing with the aftereffects of not one but two foot injuries, so this really isn’t the guy you want to cite if you’re trying to make the case that the AL is superior.

      • freedomofspeechyesway - Sep 4, 2014 at 4:39 PM

        Until there’s a DH in both leagues then any stats comparing AL pitchers and NL pitchers is a waste of time. I couldn’t care less if people downvote me over that statement.

        Either way, the change of scenery clearly didn’t help him.

        NL pitchers face other pitchers roughly 600 – 700 AB’s per year, so I really don’t care if someone doesn’t agree with me over which league has better pitching.

      • Jon Hamilton - Sep 4, 2014 at 5:03 PM

        “NL pitchers face other pitchers roughly 600 – 700 AB’s per year, so I really don’t care if someone doesn’t agree with me over which league has better pitching.”

        600 divided by 32(games started) = 18.75

        On the low end of your estimate an NL starting pitcher is pitching to an opposing pitcher 18.75 times per game. The high end of your estimate adds another 3+ plate appearances for pitchers per start.

      • salvomania - Sep 4, 2014 at 5:05 PM

        600-700 ABs? Really? Where does that number come from?

        Last year NL pitchers faced other pitchers more than 5000 times, or around twice per game.

        If you were referring to an individual pitcher facing other pitchers, that doesn’t make sense either, as Adam Wianwright—who faced more batters than any NL picther last year—only had 59 PAs by opposing pitchers.

      • freedomofspeechyesway - Sep 4, 2014 at 5:15 PM

        I should have clarified, the 600 – 700 figure is an estimate for each pitching staff. So when looking at a staff’s ERA, that’s an estimate of how many times that staff will be facing other pitchers if they’re an NL team.

        I think that looking at pitching generalities is tough and can’t really be done on an individual basis because that’s where we get the outliers, and looking at it for the entire league things can get lost in the massive sample size.

        I do believe that it’s silly to compare leagues though on an ERA basis because of the DH and I question the sensibilities of those that disagree and think it’s a legitimate discussion.

        I also believe that since the introduction of interleague play the gap has become more muddled because of the way games are called now vs. the perception of how they used to be called – strike zone and such.

  2. proudlycanadian - Sep 4, 2014 at 3:41 PM

    Speaking of former St. Louis players, Craig is making Colby Rasmus look good.

    • yankeefan1950 - Sep 4, 2014 at 4:03 PM

      No he’s not, Rasmus is a good fielder.

  3. ramblingalb - Sep 4, 2014 at 3:47 PM

    This is what happens when you play in pain through an injury. Wait until he “comes back strong” next season.

    • Caught Looking - Sep 4, 2014 at 3:50 PM

      Just like Carl Crawford?

    • Paper Lions - Sep 4, 2014 at 4:03 PM

      He played in pain and rather well in 2013. After the off season, he has repeatedly stated that the foot injury is healed. He hasn’t limped all year. He actually looked better than before running around the OF this year.

      Unless he has some strange injury that doesn’t affect his mobility, strength, or balance while walking or running, but does when he’s hitting….the old foot injury isn’t the problem.

  4. El Bravo - Sep 4, 2014 at 3:48 PM

    Overmatched?!?! He get’s hits a whopping 11% of the time!! That’s like, I don’t know, 11 times out of a 100 times he hits the ball into fair territory and no one gets to it before he reaches first base!

  5. scoochpooch - Sep 4, 2014 at 3:54 PM

    Of course, he moved from the inferior NL to the far superior talent-wise AL. There was nowhere for his numbers to go but down. He’ll be signed by the Dodgers next season and bat around.290 against putrid NL competition.

    • Wesley Clark - Sep 4, 2014 at 4:09 PM

      Either you are a troll or don’t actually follow baseball. His numbers were terrible for the Cardinals this year (due in at least part to injury). So the fact that his numbers could go nowhere but down is a not a brilliant observation to begin with. The second fallacy is that he will “sign with the Dodgers next season”. Unless the Red Sox release him, unlikely since he is owed upwards of 35 million guaranteed, he will not be signing with the Dodgers.

      • scrot7 - Sep 4, 2014 at 4:37 PM

        I suck trolls off for a living.

  6. jrob23 - Sep 4, 2014 at 3:56 PM

    The Red Sox didn’t get him hoping he’d produce for this season. He has the rest of this season, all offseason and spring training to get healthy and return to form for next season. He’ll be fine. Sox will have one of the most potent offenses in the majors next season.

    • beepbeepbeeplgb - Sep 4, 2014 at 4:03 PM

      as a cards fan i really hope your right. he was my favorite cardinal and i’d love to see him turn it around. that being said, he looks over matched? of course he does, that’s how he’s looked all season.

  7. edelmanfanclub - Sep 4, 2014 at 4:03 PM

    Wasn’t sure why the BoSox were compelled to take his contract in exchange for a year and change of Lackey, while Kelly has looked nice most of the other outfielders havent hit well (YC, AC) which was already a weak point for us this season (besides Betts and Nava’s 2nd half). Cherington is throwing crap a wall and hoping something sticks at this point because we have great depth at outfield just alot of underperformers. 2014 will go down as a bad year for and im sure he’ll be here next year bc his 11-13 numbers are great. But September is crucial for him to show he belongs in 2015 and beyond. The drop off from 2013 to 2014 is insane from a 134 wRC+ to 76 wRC+.. nuts.

  8. sisisisisisisi - Sep 4, 2014 at 4:06 PM

    Craig is 8 for 14 against tonight’s starter Capuano, with 2HRs. If he’s not going to do it tonight, then a force DL is appropriate.

    • sisisisisisisi - Sep 4, 2014 at 4:07 PM

      He’ll bat 6th tonight, we’ll see.

  9. 5thliner - Sep 4, 2014 at 4:32 PM

    He’ll get it back. I’m still bummed we traded him.

  10. cardsfan773 - Sep 4, 2014 at 4:36 PM

    How can any of you say the AL has better pitchers. Price is a cy young contender with an era around 4. However the top 5 NL pitchers are all sub 2.50

    • Caught Looking - Sep 4, 2014 at 5:01 PM

      Under what methodology? Of the qualifiers, only Kershaw (1.70), Cueto (2.26) and Hamels (2.50) have ERA’s at or below 2.50 in the NL. In the AL, Sale, Hernandez Duffy are all below 2.50 with Lester at 2.54. And of the 12 pitchers with a WHIP at or below 1.10, seven are in the AL.

    • [citation needed] fka COPO - Sep 4, 2014 at 5:32 PM

      Price is a cy young contender with an era around 4.

      If “around 4” means 3.25, then I guess Kershaw’s ERA is around 2.50 instead of the 1.70 he’s put up. Also, the AL CY is between Felix (2.18) and Kluber (2.58).

  11. freedomofspeechyesway - Sep 4, 2014 at 4:59 PM

    “How can any of you say the AL has better pitchers. Price is a cy young contender with an era around 4. However the top 5 NL pitchers are all sub 2.50”

    Facing other pitchers about 600 times a year will do that for an ERA.

    Until it’s an even playing field there’s no such thing as “this league has better pitchers, just look at their ERA”. That’s a fools argument. Heck, I think it’s funny that there’s some guy on here taking people’s obviously sarcastic comments to task over this.

    • salvomania - Sep 4, 2014 at 5:07 PM

      You mean facing other pitchers 50-60 times a year.

      • freedomofspeechyesway - Sep 4, 2014 at 5:17 PM

        “You mean facing other pitchers 50-60 times a year.”

        I should have clarified, I was going by an entire pitching staff’s numbers instead of just an individual. I think looking at the entire league is too large of a sample size and looking at individuals produces outliers, but looking at each staff’s numbers gives a fair sample and includes starters 1-5, as well as the bullpen.

    • salvomania - Sep 4, 2014 at 5:12 PM

      For the record, in the NL last year, pitchers accounted for 5.6% of all plate appearances.

      In interleague play AL pitchers faced pitchers as hitters 319 times last year—about 0.34% of all plate appearances against them.

      • freedomofspeechyesway - Sep 4, 2014 at 5:20 PM

        My math might be fuzzy, but that means that NL pitchers had the luxery of facing other pitchers 1,647% more than AL Pitchers.

        5.6% vs. .34%

        How anyone could not take that into consideration when comparing leagues is beyond me.

    • beepbeepbeeplgb - Sep 4, 2014 at 5:23 PM

      that’s 2 times u said “i should have clarified”, you probably should either stop making statements because it makes you look dumb or proof read. either way your not making a very good case for anything.

      • freedomofspeechyesway - Sep 4, 2014 at 6:19 PM

        “you probably should either stop making statements because it makes you look dumb or proof read”

        First – I noticed that you didn’t actually refute anything I said in this thread.

        Second – I was clarifying the same number, twice, out of respect for the other posters who didn’t read it as I intended it, which could have been easily fixed if this site had an edit function

        Third – Before you tell people they look dumb, learn grammar. “either way your not making a very good case”.

        Fourth – Get lost.

    • Paper Lions - Sep 5, 2014 at 9:00 AM

      I’m not sure if you are being stupid on purpose or not.

      1) Getting to pitchers doesn’t not affect the quality of the pitchers, it just affects the numbers.

      2) This has no bearing whatsoever on Craig switching leagues, because he’s not a pitcher. Switching leagues or teams can affect the numbers a pitcher puts up by getting to face a pitcher once or twice a start or because of different park effect. The existence of the DH has no effect whatsoever on hitters that switch leagues.

  12. wisbadgfan - Sep 4, 2014 at 5:30 PM

    Craig is a solid hitter—–I agree with others that he needs time off to totally recuperate and gain his confidence back.

    He needs to return to spraying the ball to all fields—–he has been a good opposite field hitter and the green monster cannot affect his approach.

    I wish him the best and think we will see him back to being Allen Craig.

    • gostlcards5 - Sep 4, 2014 at 6:05 PM

      Agreed. I hope he gets totally healthy and comes back strong, because he’s a good player, a good hitter, and a good guy.

      BTW, as far as him saying the foot injury isn’t a problem, I totally expect that, because he’s also not the type of guy to make excuses.

  13. yahmule - Sep 4, 2014 at 6:22 PM

    Nice one, Bow Sox.

  14. apkyletexas - Sep 4, 2014 at 6:43 PM

    Aren’t all you saber wonks supposed to be talking about 10 games being a poor sample size?

    • apkyletexas - Sep 4, 2014 at 6:47 PM

      And I thought you nerds were supposed to have replaced batting average as a useful stat years ago.

      And don’t you have something more spastic to talk about, like “Average Number of Foul Balls Per Off-Speed Pitch from Right-Handed Relievers” (ANFBPOSPRHR for short I believe)?

      • Paper Lions - Sep 5, 2014 at 9:10 AM

        First, there isn’t a single writer on this site that I would describe are a saber wonk or saber nerd or really, particularly sabery at all.

        Second, no one in the saber community conflates scouting and states the way saberphobes like you do. The article it self is describing what Craig looks like and the results of him look over matched.

        Third, the sample size isn’t 10 games because Allen Craig existed before he was on the Red Sox and he’s looked exactly as bad on the RS as he did for months before that.

  15. officialgame - Sep 4, 2014 at 6:47 PM

    The good news is he will get a Christmas card from Luie Mendoza, the bad news is he will get a Christmas card from Luie Mendoza .

  16. mungman69 - Sep 5, 2014 at 5:56 AM

    Buy out.

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