If you remember way back when to the DRaysBay season preview, you may recall a piece I wrote about Carl Crawford and the statistically similarities he shared with Roberto Clemente. I found that through age 26, Crawford was dangerously close to Clemente in a few key categories. Here were the numbers:
I also discovered that from age 27-37, Clemente experienced a power surge, and averaged a .502 slg over his final 11 seasons. While CC hasn't had a home run breakout, his slugging percentage is 40 points higher than it was in 2008. After just six extra base hits in April, CC's showed some serious power in May in which he slugged .512 with 13 XBH. Crawford has just three extra base hits in the month of June, but two of them have been home runs.
Once again, I decided to compare the two players through the first 289 plate appearances during the year in which they were classified as 27. Not surprisingly, the comparison is holding very strong. In fact, their OPS is within two points of each other. They are also within two home runs, two doubles and one triple of each other. Here is the visual.
The .454 slugging % Clemente posted in 1962 would end up as the lowest of his final 11 seasons. As we move closer to July, we will undoubtedly hear Crawford's name mentioned in trade rumors. After looking at this comparison, it puts in perspective (for me at least) the type of player we are dealing with in Crawford. I'm not saying Crawford is next Clemente. Defensively, Clemente's arm was legendary, but CC's speed makes him very special not only defensively, but on the basepaths. Hopefully, the Rays continue their winning ways, and any thoughts of trading Crawford are replaced by thoughts of another playoff push with him and a possible extension.