Yeah, I said it. And I believe it, but I'm not saying it will happen for sure. But Lorenzo Cain could be a Carl Crawford type talent. This first hit me the other night watching Crawford play in the Rays vs Rangers ALDS game. I am actually surprised I did not make the connection earlier, like during the regular season watching Cain play. There are just so many similarities between Cain and Crawford that it is hard to deny. Okay, here me out.
Both Cain and Crawford started playing baseball at a late age. Most guys that end up playing in the major league's started off playing baseball at age 5 or 6 in tee ball. But Lorenzo and Carl first picked up a bat and glove in their high school years. They both have pure, raw athleticism. This is what allowed two guys who didn't play baseball before high school to pick the game up so quickly and make it to the show. Maybe the current skills that most draws in comparison between the two is speed and defense. Both have tremendous speed that help them cover a lot of ground in the OF. Cain in CF, Crawford in LF although I am sure Crawford could more than handle himself in CF. Their speed also allows them to steal a lot of bases. Crawford is always amongst the lead leaders in steals, Cain stole 124 bases over parts of 6 seasons in the minor leagues and 7 in 43 games for the Brewers in 10'. I would expect in a full big league season for Cain to steal 40+ bases, hopefully the next Manager of the Brewers will be someone who will run a bit more than Ken Macha did.
Finally, both players hit for average and get on base at a good clip to bat in that #2 or #3 spot in the order. And with the speed they have that is what they need to do. Crawford has developed power over time, hitting a career high 19 HR in 2010. Many scouts and teammates of Cain's think he to will develop power and be a guy who can hit 15-20 HR a season. Might take a few years but he should get to that mark like Crawford did. So as you can see, if you compare the skill sets of Lorenzo Cain and Carl Crawford through the eye test as well as look at their minor league stats, they are similar players. Crawford however has proved it at the big league level is a perennial All-Star and is about to cash in big time this offseason as the best position player on the market. Cain got his first taste of big league action and should play his first full season in 2011, for him it could be and hopefully will be the start of a Carl Crawford like career. Stay tuned.