The Seattle Mariners are second in the AL West division so far with a 12-10 record.
They have slipped a bit after their blistering start, but remain a solid squad looking for its first playoff berth since 2001.
Part of their early success can be attributed to their excellent production from the shortstop position.
Who is their starting shortstop?
None other than J.P. Crawford.
The former top prospect broke out in 2021 with 3.3 Wins Above Replacement (WAR), mainly because of his top-notch defense.
With the bat, he was good but not particularly impressive: he slashed .273/.338/.376 with just nine homers in 160 games.
This year, however, he has maintained his elite defensive play while taking things to another level offensively.
“2022 AL Batting WAR Leaders: J.P. Crawford (1.9), Mike Trout (1.9), Jose Ramirez (1.4), Taylor Ward (1.3),” Baseball Reference tweeted.
2022 AL Batting WAR Leaders
J.P. Crawford (1.9)
Mike Trout (1.9)
Jose Ramirez (1.4)
Taylor Ward (1.3)
All Leaders: https://t.co/SEzjxigJ3F
— Baseball Reference (@baseball_ref) May 2, 2022
Competing With The Best
A healthy Mike Trout is the perennial favorite to lead the league in WAR because of his enormous offensive and defensive contributions.
That is precisely why Crawford and his achievements so far have been so impressive: he is neck-to-neck with the best player of our generation.
Crawford is almost halfway through last year’s home run tally, with four in the season’s first month.
And his batting line looks extremely impressive: .372/.462/.628.
He has been making more contact and taking many more walks, which is crucial to a hitter’s success.
Hitting is the art of laying off the bad pitches and taking advantage of the good ones: that’s the main goal of the game.
And Crawford is doing an incredible job.
He already has 13 runs and 10 RBI for a solid Seattle team that looks like it will be scoring lots of runs this year.
It has been an incredible start of the season for Crawford.