A full 10 months after they called his name at the Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft, the St. Louis Cardinals have signed JD Crowe, a 2016 senior out of Francis Marion University in South Carolina, according to a report from Baseball America.
Last June, the Cardinals selected Crowe with their 23rd-round selection, the 706th overall pick. The six-foot tall, lefty-hitting outfielder also spent time at third base and behind the plate for the Patriots of the Peach Belt Conference.
Crowe started his college career at Auburn University but only received nine at-bats his freshman year. He transferred to Francis Marion after that season and rounded into their best offensive player by his senior year. Crowe put up a .347/.439/.539 batting line over 193 AB in his final year at Francis Marion and led the team in slugging percentage, hits (67), runs (47), home runs (8), runs batted in (49), runs scored (47), total bases (104), doubles (11), steals (11), and walks (33).
He was drafted as an outfielder but for unknown reasons, did not sign with the Cardinals last summer. Crowe features a quick bat and intelligent approach at the plate which led to his team-leading power numbers and walk rate. It is doubtful he will lead teams in power numbers as he shifts to a wood bat, but he has the ability to develop gap-to-gap power.
At the time of writing, there is no word on the bonus given to Crowe. As a post-10th round selection, he was eligible for up to $100,000 before the Cardinals would incur deductions from their full bonus pool. However, due to earlier signings, the organization has only $85,000 remaining before exceeding the 105 percent clip level and suffering the loss of a future pick, as well.
Unlike underclassmen, whose eligibility to sign ends on July 15, organizations control the rights to seniors for a year. Since Crowe was a senior in 2016 with almost no leverage, it is expected he would receive a very low signing bonus, anyway. Further, there is no word on what took so long to ink the outfielder to a deal.
(Editor’s note: It is expected that Crowe has been routed to extended spring training to get into playing shape. Until an official roster assignment has been made, he has been placed on the State College roster.)
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