Under the Radar performers: Joe Crede

Without looking, how has free agent pick-up Joe Crede played this year? I knew he had been hitting for power, I knew his on base skills were still lacking, and I figured he was playing pretty good defense because he historically has been good with the glove. Well Mr. Crede is hitting .234/.297/.452, not the best line in the world by any means but there are some positives hidden in there.

First, Crede is walking at a rate he rarely has, and by rarely I mean he has a BB% of 8% against a career average of 6.0

Next Crede is sitting with a BABIP of .231; now that looks a lot worse then it is because Crede only has a career BABIP of .260 because he hits a lot of infield flyballs and his LD% for the career isn't particullarly good. But so far this year his LD% is up from the previous two years and his infield fly ball percentage is the lowest of his career. ZIPS projects his BABIP to be .252 but it should probably go even higher then that.

And we haven't even gotten to the best part yet. Crede is a good defender at the hot corner, as far back as UZR goes he has never rated below average and he has averaged 10.2 runs above average UZR/150 for his career. All in all he has been consistently one of the best defenders in the game. Well, this year he is kind of outstripping his career rate to the tune of already being 11.7 runs above average on the year ranking 4th overall in the game in runs saves and on pace for an incredible 24.8 UZR/150

So where does that put Crede for the season? Well FanGraphs has Crede has producing a 2.1 WAR so far putting him on pace to be a 4 win player as it, but with the improvements that could/should occur that could kick up another half a win or so. Regardless Crede has been the 4th most valuable player for the Twins this year behind Mauer, Morneau, and Nick Blackburn. The Twinkies are going to need a little help if they are going to make the playoffs, but if they do Crede's production will have been a big part of getting there, not bad for a guy who signed a 1 year, 2.5 million dollar base contract

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