Number crunching II: JP Crawford edition
J.P. Crawford connects for a hit against the Rays at TMP
June 18, 2021
A couple weeks back, we did a dive into the batting splits of what was then the active Mariner roster, finding some interesting things, like Kyle Seager is Superman with runners in scoring position and Jimmy Olsen with the bases empty. But one interesting case was J.P. Crawford.
The Seattle shortstop has historically been a terrible hitter in his home park. At TMP, Crawford has hit a mere .208/.281/.307 for his career, including .227/.292/.319 this year while batting a far more robust .328/.389/.461 on the road. But that home number is getting better, so the question is, has J.P. solved his home-park issues, or is this a blip?
During the current homestand, all of four games to this point, Crawford is 6-for-17 (.353). This follows up a fantastic road trip in which he tore the cover off the ball to the tune of .421/.500/.658 (16-for-38, 8 BB). He had one decent homestand before, a six-gamer from April 30 to May 5 that saw him go 5-for-18, but that was an outlier until now. The only other homestand in which he performed this well was, interestingly, about this time of year in 2019—from June 17-23 of that season J.P. was 10-for-33 with five walks. The following road trip was good for him, too, 9-for-26.
So maybe it's the calendar? J.P. comes alive around the summer solstice, regardless of locale? Of course, there were no June games in 2020, so we've just got the two seasons, ’19 and ’21, to look at and that seems too small a sample size. But it'll be interesting to see if he can continue to hit at home not just for the rest of this homestand, but when the next one rolls around in July.
Of course, Crawford isn't the only Mariner to have stark home/road splits; Kyle Seager's average is about 100 points lower at TMP than elsewhere, but that's just this year and it seems to relate more to the game situation, e.g. runners aboard or not. Crawford's aversion to hitting in Seattle has persisted from the day he arrived.
At least until now. Let's hope that trend is a thing of the past and J.P. can excite the home crowds in person as much as when they're watching from hundreds of miles away on TV.