Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Damon vs. Crisp

When Johnny Damon signed with the Yankees, I pointed out that he benefited enormously from Fenway Park. Well, all indications are that Coco Crisp is going to replace Damon in the lineup, so I thought it might be worth looking at the two in comparison. Just looking at last year (and keeping in mind that Crisp is likely coming into his prime as Damon is likely leaving his) we see that Damon was better last year, though not by much.

Crisp vs. Damon - 2005



Crisp actually had a higher OPS, but Damon's OBP advantage is more valuable than Crisp's SLG advantage. If you go to OPS+, which adjusts for league and park context, they were basically equal, each compiling a 102 OPS+.
UPDATE: I misread that - they've each got a 102 CAREER OPS+. Last year, Crisp was clearly better than Damon, compiling a 119 OPS+ to Damon's 113+...

But I've already said that Damon took particular advantage of Fenway Park. If we look at home games for each, we see a huge advantage to Damon.

Crisp vs. Damon - 2005 - Home games



So what did they look like in games away from their home parks?

Crisp vs. Damon - 2005 games not in Fenway Park/Jacobs Field



Advantage (big, big advantage) - Coco Crisp.

Now, there's no reason to expect that Crisp will take the same advantage of Fenway Park that Johnny Damon did. But he may. What is overwhelmingly likely is that a) Damon will drop-off significantly due to not playing half his games in Fenway and b) Crisp is far more likely to improve, as he moves into a more hitter-friendly park. In short, there's every reason to expect that Coco Crisp will be a more effective, more valuable offensive player in 2006 (and 2007-2009) than Johnny Damon. And the Red Sox, with people bemoaning the loss of Johnny Damon, are likely to have actually upgraded in CF, as they have at 2B and 1B (and the starting rotation and the bullpen...)



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