Age: 21 (10/15/1993)
How acquired— Cubs 11th round pick in 2012, # 344 overall. Scouted by Keith Lockhart.
Boise Hawks, Northwest League, Short Season, (71 G, .259/.297/.360, 1 HR, 34 RBI, 14 SB).
Prior to Cubs
A switch-hitting prep star at Mundy’s Mill High School, Crawford was named Georgia Region 4-A Player of the Year after hitting .507 with 41 runs and 22 stolen bases in 31 games. Playing third and center in high school, Crawford was headed to Tallahassee Community College before the Cubs came calling in the 11th round.
After signing with Cubs, Crawford made his professional debut on June 21, 2012, in the Arizona Rookie League against the A’s, going 0-for-3 with a walk. He collected his first pro hit a day later vs. D-Backs and played nine games for Mesa (.167/.324/.167). He was back in Mesa for extended spring training and spent another summer in AZL, playing 42 games and once again struggled at the plate (.210/.299.275) but did show ability to get on-base and swiped 10 bases.
After struggling his first two seasons, Crawford became a Northwest League All-Star, hitting .259/.297/.360 in 71 games at short-season Boise. The 6-foot-3 outfielder impressed in extended spring training and finally earned a trip out of Mesa. His season included a 19-game hitting streak and a pair of three-hit, three RBI games two days apart. He slugged his first career homer on Aug. 14 and led the league with seven triples. After starting his career as a switch-hitter, Crawford became a strictly left-handed hitter but his OBP suffered as he only walked 5.2% while fanning 26%. Due to his lack of power, Crawford will need to improve on those numbers as he learns to control the strike zone from the left side. While he showed the ability to hit the ball to all the fields, he rolled over on a lot of balls, resulting in numerous groundouts to right side on infield.
The 21-year-old will get a chance to showcase his talents in a full season as he’s likely headed to South Bend. He should continue to get reps in center and hit leadoff, but must prove himself in spring training in a competitive outfield battle for South Bend and Myrtle Beach. Crawford has his work cut out to make the big leagues but possess the tools, especially speed, to make an impact.