A return to form in 2012

2011 was frustrating for Carl Crawford, but he should bounce back in 2012. AP Photo/Charles Krupa

Last week, we looked at a group of key players whose expected regression in 2012 could pose problems for their team's chances of contention. However, there's a flip side to that same coin. Today, we'll look at a few players whose performance could see a nice rebound, improving their team's odds even if they don't make a big splash this winter.

Carl Crawford, OF, Boston Red Sox

The most obvious candidate for this kind of comeback is Crawford. The Red Sox pricey new outfielder set career lows in nearly every meaningful category last year, and his overall performance was worth just 0.2 WAR, as his numbers were right in line with what you'd expect from a random Triple-A player earning the league minimum.


There's almost no way a player with his track record -- Crawford averaged 5.4 WAR per season over the three years prior -- could be that bad again.