As a result of a poor OBP, Carl Crawford's stolen base numbers declined considerably in 2011. Crawford participated in played in 130 games last season and stole 18 bases, compared to 154 games in 2010 with 47 steals. With the lack of a running game, Carl Crawford needs a bit of a refresher course and he is working with Mike Roberts (father of Brian Roberts) to get back to where he was.
For two days, after the team’s regular workouts, Crawford went back out to Field 3 to work with Mike Roberts, a former college coach and a baserunning specialist. Roberts and Crawford have worked together for several years, most recently before Crawford’s last season with the Rays, in 2010.
“It’s usually like for a reminder,” Crawford said of these sessions. “I don’t care how good you get at something, it’s always nice to have guys like Mr. Roberts come in and remind you of the little things that make you successful at it.
“Last year I lost my confidence on the basepaths and that’s one thing we were talking about, having confidence on the bases. It might translate to my playing better defense and hitting better.”
“The best word to use is ‘refine,’” said Roberts. “He’s got to refine [his technique]. And the other thing that I mentioned to Carl is by refining and working on the little things on basestealing, if it clicks, his legs are more alive, he has more confidence. With some of the athletes that I’ve worked with it seems that they have more confidence when they’re hitting, they have more in their outfield play, when they have to make a throw. So I think it transcends the entire game. A lot of people start with offense. With a player like Carl, I think you start with his baserunning to regain his confidence.”
Crawford's lack of steals was a huge void in the Red Sox game last season, even with Ellsbury's offensive explosion. I'm glad he is not taking an approach where he doesn't work on this part of his game because he is an established base-stealer. He is trying hard to get back to where he was in Tampa and he does not seem to be cutting corners. As long as he keeps up all of the hard work, it will be hard for him to fall back to where he was last season.