In June, Brandon Crawford was an NL MVP candidate. Since then, the shortstop has been in a free fall.
After posting a season-high batting average and OPS of .338 and .921 respectively on June 10th (H/T Henry Schulman), Crawford has posted a .190 average and .555 OPS in the 78 games since. As of September 19, his 2018 numbers have fallen back to around his career averages (.255 batting average, .717 OPS) leading many to wonder what exactly happened during the season’s second half.
Crawford revealed the issue after Tuesday’s game when speaking to reporters, saying that a nagging left-knee injury has had a significant effect on his hitting.
“I think that’s a large percentage of why I haven’t been hitting very well,” Crawford told the San Francisco Chronicle. “It’s my back leg. I wasn’t really able to sit on my back knee. I’d drift forward. It’s hard to hit like that.”
According to the Chronicle, it’s not just Crawford’s hitting that has been affected, but his entire game, with Schulman writing that, “Crawford believes his range at short has declined a tick because a knee injury that has dogged him for much of the season has stolen his quick first step.”
That issue has been far less noticeable, as Crawford has looked like a three-time — perhaps soon to be four-time — Gold Glover at short for most of the season.
The knee has apparently improved with the frequent rest Crawford has been receiving from manager Bruce Bochy since the Giants fell out of the National League playoff race. According to the Chronicle, Crawford does not expect to have an operation on the knee this offseason.