When the Red Sox acquired Allen Craig from the Cardinals in the John Lackey trade they were hoping a change of scenery would help him rediscover his pre-2014 form, but instead his season-long struggles have become even more extreme.
Craig struck out in all four his plate appearances yesterday and is now hitting .111 with 15 strikeouts in 10 games for the Red Sox.
Before this season–or, perhaps more accurately, before injuring his foot late last season–Craig hit .306 with an .850 OPS through 372 career games, but now Sean McAdam of CSNNE.com writes that Craig “couldn’t have looked more overmatched” and was “flailing at breaking balls way out of the strike zone.”
He’s under contract for $5.5 million in 2015, $9 million in 2016, $11 million in 2017, and $13 million or a $1 million buyout in 2018.
Every now and then, The Players’ Tribune runs a “five toughest” feature. In 2015, David Ortiz listed the five toughest pitchers he ever faced. Last month, Christian Yelich wrote up the five toughest pitchers in the NL East. Now, it’s Ian Kinsler‘s turn with the five toughest pitchers in the AL Central.
Kinsler goes into detail explaining why each pitcher is difficult to face, so hop over to The Players’ Tribune for his reasoning. His list
Presumably, Kinsler intentionally omitted his Tiger teammates from the list. He has faced Justin Verlander a fair amount earlier in his career, and he has only a .176/.333/.235 batting line in 42 plate appearances against the right-hander. Verlander’s stuff is often described as tough to hit in one phrase or another. Kinsler has also struggled against Indians starter Carlos Carrasco (.590 OPS), but one can understand why he would be omitted from a list of five given who was already listed.
Angels first baseman C.J. Cron hit a grand slam against the Mets on Sunday, but it wasn’t enough to keep his spot on the major league roster as the club announced his demotion to Triple-A Salt Lake on Monday. Infielder Nolan Fantana has been promoted from Salt Lake.
Cron, 27, was hitting a disappointing .232/.281/.305 with one home run and RBI in 90 plate appearances. I guess you can say that wasn’t the kind of Cron job the Angels were expecting. Cron was an above-average hitter in each of his first three seasons, finishing with an OPS+, or adjusted OPS, of 111, 106, and 115 (100 is average).
While Cron is figuring things out in the minors, Luis Valbuena, Jefry Marte, and Albert Pujols could each see some time at first base.