Jul 21, 2014; Philadelphia, PA, USA; San Francisco Giants shortstop Brandon Crawford (35) drops a ball that was thrown to him during the second inning of a game against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Analyzing Brandon Crawford's Recent Struggles

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There’s no hiding Brandon Crawford‘s struggles this season, especially as of late. Last night’s late inning hit to tie the game doesn’t change the fact that Crawford is in a huge slump, and his statistics over the past month have been nothing short of awful.

When you look at Crawford’s numbers over the San Francisco Giants’ recent road trip, he only hit .091. Crawford is batting .179 over the past month now with only three extra base hits in that time frame. He is also averaging a strikeout per game. In the month of July and now August, he is only batting .172. , so his struggles at the plate have been going on for some time now.

Crawford’s bat isn’t the only thing that’s been in a slump this season. Crawford has already made 17 errors (second most errors among National League shortstops) this season. If Crawford makes one more error, he will have tied his 2012 career-high of 18 errors. It’s crazy to think that in the beginning of the season, most thought Crawford could win the Gold Glove this season or sometime soon. This just is not going to happen when Crawford is making 15+ errors a season.

How do you explain this awful season for Crawford? From my perspective, when watching nearly every game, opposing pitchers are throwing low and inside a lot more to Crawford. That is where his biggest hole is too.

On top of that, opposing pitchers are throwing more balls out of the strike zone, and Crawford is chasing. Also, when Crawford is swinging at a pitch over the plate, he is guessing wrong. He’ll guess fastball and the opposing pitcher will throw a changeup, or he’ll guess a curveball and get a fastball.

Although most of the blame must be on Crawford when it comes to his hitting, a decent amount of the blame has to be on Giants batting coach Hensley Meulens: someone no one has seemed to put any blame on the Giants’ offensive struggles for the past two months, but we’ll leave the Meulens discussion for another post in the future.

This being Brandon Crawford’s third full season in the majors, you would expect to see some improvement in Crawford’s overall game, but we have not. It appears this is what you get with Crawford: a sub-par hitting shortstop (career .238 batting average) and an average fielder who can make the occasional great play.

It’s time for the Giants to give someone else a shot at shortstop, because those numbers both offensively and defensively from Crawford are just not going to cut it if this team wants to remain competitive in the future. Matt Duffy and Ehire Adrianza are immediately the two candidates that come to mind from within, given the Giants already have a lot of money on the books next season but also have a lot of holes to fill.

Both Adrianza and Duffy (since his two call-ups) have gotten very limited playing time and both deserve a shot at the starting role at shortstop. This likely will not happen during the remainder of this season, unless you see the Giants really fall out of complete contention. The Giants’ 2015 Spring Training will mark when that competition for the starting nod at shortstop will begin, and it will be between Crawford, Adrianza, and Duffy (with Chris Dominguez being thrown into the mix, although his chances of making the roster would be very low).

Crawford needs to end the season strong if he wants to prove to the Giants that he should be their starter next season and for the future.

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Tags: Brandon Crawford San Francisco Giants

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