Prospect Retro: Coco Crisp
Covelli "Coco" Crisp was drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals in the seventh round of the 1999 draft, from Los Angeles Pierce Junior College. Assigned to Johnson City in the Appy League, he hit .258/.380/.354 with 27 steals in 65 games, 44 walks and 41 strikeouts in 229 at-bats. His high walk rate and speed were impressive, but he didn't show much power. I gave him a Grade C in the 2000 book, noting that his secondary skills were impressive, but that it was unclear how much power he would develop.
Crisp split '00 between short-season New Jersey and Class A Peoria, playing 63 games and stealing 32 bases, but showing no power and hitting a combined .254. He remained a Grade C prospect at this point.
Moved up to Potomac in the Carolina League in '01, Crisp had a strong season, hitting .306/.368/.423, with 39 steals and 11 homers. His power was starting to develop, and he maintained good plate discipline, although he was caught stealing 21 times and definitely needed to improve his baserunning. I gave him a Grade C+ in the '02 book, and predicted that he would hit .287 in Double-A in '02.
He did better than that, hitting .301 with 26 steals in 89 games for New Haven. Traded to the Indians at mid-season as part of the Chuck Finley trade, he was inserted into the lineup by Cleveland and hit .260/.314/.386 in 32 games, not great but OK considering he was skipping Triple-A. I kept him at Grade C+ in the '03 book, projecting that he would make an excellent fourth outfielder but wouldn't develop enough power to start.
Crisp hit .360 in 56 games of Triple-A in '03, but spent most of the year with the Indians, hitting .266/.302/.353 with 15 steals. He earned regular playing time in '04 and did very well, hitting .297/.344/.446 with 15 homers and 20 steals, showing improved power production. His numbers this year are similar: .291/.338/.439.
Crisp played very well at times in the minors, showing good speed and the ability to take a walk. His patience has slipped a bit in the Show, but he hasn't lost his ability to make contact, and has developed more power than expected. He should have a long and productive career, and is a good example of a Grade C/C+ prospect who develops his skills.
Crisp's comparables are all over the place, a mixture of throwback players like Terry Moore, 70s speed-and-batting-average hitters, and a few more modern names.
A good active comp is Mark Kotsay.
I think the main unanswered question here is still power development. Crisp could still develop in any number of directions.
There is a poll question about Crisp in the comments section.