When the Minnesota Twins signed third baseman Joe Crede to an incentive-laden deal in spring training, everybody knew the team was brining in a potential All-Star bat when healthy. The previous year, Crede had hit nearly 20 homeruns and was named an American League All-Star before a back injury ended his season after only 97 games.
Thus far in ’09, after just over a half season of play, Crede has hit only .234. He has nonetheless been productive in driving in runners with 12 homeruns and 36 RBI. Crede finds himself on pace for 27 homeruns and 80 RBI by season’s end; numbers that third base in Minnesota hasn’t seen in quite some time.
The offense is great, but Crede’s value extends much further than his presence in the lineup. With only two errors, Crede has the best fielding percentage (.988) of all qualified third baseman in the American League.
The error total and fielding percentage alone tell a great deal about Crede’s value. They do not however tell the entire story. A newer stat, one now used by some voters to award the Gold Glove, very prominently shows Crede’s value to the left side of the infield and his team in general.
The Ultimate Zone Rating, a number that factors in things such as a player’s arm and range, ranks Crede at the top of the league among all third baseman.
Crede’s UZR/150, which is the average number of runs saved over the course of 150 defensive games, has Crede at a solid 27.0; a number that places him first in his position and over Beltre by nearly 10 runs.
With a career average around .250 and pretty decent power numbers, Joe Crede is right on par with what the Twins signed up for a few months ago; and his defense has been a welcomed addition to a franchise known for doing ‘the little things’.