Position: Right-handed Pitcher
Acquired: 2013 MLB Draft, 1st Round
Ranking History: N/A
Crawford, a three-year veteran of an excellent Florida program, was popped with the 20th overall selection by the Tigers.
During his sophomore season at Florida, Crawford posted a 3.13 ERA and a 6-2 record. He improved throughout the year and continued to climb draft boards on the heels of 73 strikeouts in in 77-2/3 innings.
As a junior, Crawford didn't put up the eye-popping numbers scouts had hoped for, but he did still manage a 3.86 ERA in the SEC; finishing the season with just a 3-6 record in 15 starts. In 86-2/3 innings, Crawford walked 37 and fanned just 69 batters.
Crawford's profile starts from a quality 6-foot-1, 205 pound frame that has very good present strength. Though his delivery has some effort to it, Crawford has the sturdy frame to work deep into games and eat innings.
The bread and butter is a fastball that parks in the 92-94 mph range and touches 96 mph with excellent late life. At its best, Crawford's fastball will explode in on right-handed hitters. Crawford has touched as high as 99 mph in the past but that velocity is not something scouts expect to see in the future.
Crawford relies on a slider that flashes plus and will work in the low- to mid-80s. The pitch is better in the 84-85 mph range with tighter spin and sharper break. He lacks the consistent release point to routinely snap off the breaking ball, but there are scouts that believe it will come in time.
Crawford has toyed with a changeup but it still needs considerable work. He has very good arm speed on his soft stuff and he just needs to work on throwing it more to gain better feel for the pitch. With work, Crawford could develop an average changeup.
He has some aggression in his delivery but not something that raises significant injury concerns. He struggles to repeat his release point and doesn't always extend well out front, causing problems with his command. He works around the strike zone but must work on locating his fastball to both sides of the plate to reach his ceiling.
With Crawford, the Tigers get a college pitcher from a big-time program that is more raw than you would expect. He still needs to polish his delivery and command with the hopes that he can reach his number three starter ceiling.
Performance Level Team W-L ERA G GS SV SO BB IP BAA NCAA
Crawford's arm is surprisingly fresh given his college pedigree, having tossed less than 200 innings in three years on campus. He has effort in his delivery, but the strength in his frame suggests he should be able to handle a heavy workload.
Despite his collegiate experience, Crawford won't be arriving in Detroit overnight. He will need some time to polish his game in the minor leagues before he is ready to pitch at the highest level; possibly in 2015.
At his best, Crawford has the potential for two plus pitches, an average changeup and average command, giving him a legitimate number three profile. He has swing and miss stuff with the fastball and slider, and the Tigers could have another high strikeout arm to add to their rotation in the next couple of years.
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