Former Red Sox player sees son drafted by Phillies
Sunday, with the 17th pick in the MLB Draft the Philadelphia Phillies, selected outfielder Justin Crawford, the cousin of their 2013 1st round pick J.P Crawford and son of former Boston Red Sox left fielder Carl Crawford. The 18-year-old outfielder from Bishop Gorman High School in Las Vegas hit .503 with 5 home runs and 52 RBIs during his senior season and seems to have inherited his father’s speed, stealing 20 bases and hitting 8 triples during that time as well.
It was part of a common theme this year of sons of former big leaguers being drafted in the first round. Along with Crawford, Jackson Holliday, the son of former National League batting champion Matt Holliday was drafted #1 overall by the Baltimore Orioles, Druw Jones, the son of ten-time Gold Glover Andruw Jones, was drafted with the next pick by the Arizona Diamondbacks, and Cam Collier, the son of former big leaguer and current Royals scout Lou Collier was drafted 18th overall by the Reds.
What is also remarkable about this pick is that Justin Crawford was drafted by the team that defeated his father’s team in the 2008 World Series when he was only four years old. When asked what he could remember about the series, in which his father hit .263 and swatted two home runs, Crawford said:
"“It’s tough for me to remember because I was so young.” and added “I vividly remember I threw out the first pitch in the postseason, I don’t think it was in the World Series.”"
However, to Red Sox fans, his father Carl is more famously, or to be more accurate infamously, known for his time with the Red Sox from 2011-12. After a disappointing 2010 season, where the team missed the postseason for the first time since 2006, the Red Sox signed Crawford to a 7-year, $142 million contract. The deal made Crawford the first player in Red Sox history to receive a contract with a $20 million average annual value and the first in the John Henry ownership era to receive a seven-year deal.
The move was largely praised at the time by Red Sox fans, as it filled a void left in left field after Jason Bay had departed in free agency the previous offseason, and meant a return to Center Field for Jacoby Ellsbury, who had spent most of the 2010 season on the disabled list after he collided with 3rd baseman Adrian Beltre and fractured four of his ribs while playing left field.
Sox fans were also excited at the prospect of stealing Crawford away from the rival Rays, whom during his tenure with he had batted .300 with 12 HRs 62 RBIs, and 62 stolen bases, including six in one game, against the Red Sox.
However, the Red Sox would soon come to regret this move as Crawford would hit .255 with 11 home runs and a .694 OPS, and only 18 stolen bases, after stealing 47 a year prior in his first season with the team. He would also play a key role in the team’s historic September collapse, as he dropped a very catchable ball off the bat of Robert Andino allowing the winning run to score for the Orioles.
The costly drop placed the Red Sox’s fate in the hands of the ongoing Rays vs. Yankees game that would end almost immediately after on a walk-off home run from Evan Longoria, eliminating the Sox from the postseason.
While he performed better in 2012 hitting .282 and a .785 OPS, he spent most of the season on the disabled list, appearing in only 31 games before being shipped to the Los Angeles Dodgers in August.
In addition to his poor play, the quiet, more reserved Crawford seemed not to vibe well with Boston’s demanding fan base. In 2014 he described his time in Boston as:
"“The toughest time in my life.” and added “this place is going to be the same forever and I don’t want no part of it.”"
Justin Crawford is only 18 years old and is likely a few years away from making his Major League debut if he does at all. However, if he does, and if he lives up to the hype, and becomes the star player that many are currently projecting him to be, it is almost certain he will be linked to the Red Sox at some point in his career. Leading to an interesting debate over whether the Red Sox should roll the dice on another Crawford.