Coco Crisp Player Profile
Written by Gregory Paget
Mighty Fine Cereal Flakes: Coco Crisp
Full Name: Covelli Loyce Crisp - OF, Kansas City Royals
Born: 11/01/1979 (29)
Birthplace: Los Angeles, CA
Height: 6' 0" Weight: 180
College: Pierce JC, CA
Drafted: 1999 – 7th Round by the St. Louis Cardinals
MLB Debut: 08/15/2002
“For me, it’s easy…This is my third major league club, fourth organization. I went to four different high schools, two colleges, so I just try to fit in, find the theme of the clubhouse.” -Coco Crisp (USA Today)
First things first…
In the dawn of the Reagan administration, through familial nickname evolution, Covelli became Co, and Co became Coco. He can thank his grandmother for the former and his sister for the latter, and yes, Coco was inspired by the cereal. I spent a good deal of my youth lobbying to be known as Frankenberry Paget, but it fortunately never stuck.
To this point in his career, Crisp has been known primarily as a defensive specialist in centerfield. In 2007, Crisp ranked 2nd among all major league outfielders with a .998 fielding percentage (1 error in 416 chances) which was also good enough for the 7th best fielding percentage ever by a major league outfielder with at least 400 chances. After playing in 145 games for the Red Sox that year, Crisp’s bat got cold as the team approached October. Management had to go with hot hitting rookie Jacoby Ellsbury in favor of Crisp’s poor post-season showing as he hit .182 (6-33) in 13 games. Crisp saw action in Boston’s World Series run, but spent the bulk of it as a late inning defensive replacement.
Coco downplayed the benching, but he was stung by it. Heading into 2008, he was slotted as Boston’s fourth outfielder, a role he wasn’t thrilled about as he quietly proclaimed he needed regular at-bats to contribute positively to the club. With Manny being Manny, JD being Nancy, and Jacoby experiencing his share of growing pains, Crisp rounded up 361 AB in his final season in Boston, albeit in platoon situations.
Back in 2004 and 2005, Crisp seemed to be on the fast track. He showed signs of potentially being a 30/30 candidate someday but the production tailed off as he settled into his role on a winning ball club in Boston. He was looked at as a future top of the order guy in Cleveland, but years later began living in the basement of a loaded lineup as his time in Boston wound down.
Then things changed. Crisp got shipped to Kansas City for relief help after the 2008 season. In most years, for most players, this would be considered nothing more than a baseball exile into purgatory, but Crisp welcomed the change. He packed up his World Series ring and headed to Middle America to a Royals lineup on the rise. So far this spring, he’s been on base at a .500 clip, and is hitting .393 in 56 at-bats. Sure it’s spring training, but so far so good for Covelli as he looks to be a key contributor to the Royals in 2009. He’s still got wheels on his feet and pop in his bat, but more importantly, he’s got an open door as a starter as he moves into the prime years of his career.
Last Updated ( Sunday, 29 March 2009 17:25 )