Tigers Scouting Report #22: Casey Crosby

Casey Crosby was optioned to Toledo on Wednesday morning, confirming an assumption that many had made to start the year, that a shift to the bullpen coupled with some lost work last year due to injury would require some time in the minors to begin the season. Despite that, and despite other injuries, Crosby remains a very viable prospect.

Casey Crosby

Vitals

Position: Left-handed Pitcher
Date of Birth: 9/17/1988 (2014 Opening Day Age: 25)
Height/Weight: 6-5/225
Bats/Throws: Right/Left
Acquired: 2007 MLB Draft, 5th Round
Ranking History: #9 (2008), #4 (2009), #1 (2010), #20 (2011), #4 (2012), #5 (2013), #22 (2014)

Background: An over-slot signing in 2007, Crosby immediately went under the knife after pitching briefly in the Fall Instructional League that year. He came back late in 2008 and made a brief cameo in the Gulf Coast League before jumping to Low-A West Michigan for 24 starts in 2009, where he posted a 2.41 ERA and remained healthy all season. Crosby missed nearly the entire 2010 season with even more injuries and then came back to make 25 starts at Double-A Erie in 2011; posting a 9-7 record and 4.10 ERA. In 2012, Crosby reached Triple-A and made his MLB debut, though he was shelled in three starts for the Tigers. Crosby returned to Triple-A in 2013 and posted the worst ERA of his career with a 4.84 mark in 13 starts.

Performance:

2013 Stats - Pitching
TEAMGGSSVIPHHRRERBBSOHBPERAWHIPW/L
Toledo 1313057.25533331406114.841.682-5


Scouting Report

Body: Big, physical frame; broad shoulders; chiseled physique; exceptional athlete; body has matured very nicely; lengthy injury history to both elbow and shoulder; lacks durability despite ideal frame; has a body to dream on but it can't hold up.

Delivery/Mechanics: Highly inconsistent; athletic enough to repeat any delivery but has yet to find consistency; arm drags through delivery at times; doesn't always finish well; extension gets cut off; at times, arm-action can look painful; better in short bursts where he doesn't need to conserve energy; things seem to fall in line better.

Fastball: Has flashed 97-98 mph heat at times; hasn't touched those registers in two years; velo dipped last year as he attempted to control ball more consistently; sat in 92-93 range frequently; velocity down so far this spring; sitting 90-91, touching 93; still has good, steep angle and plenty of life on ball, even in lower velo register; arm strength can come back and could sit mid-90s this season working in short stints; currently grades above-average to plus assuming temporary velo dip this spring is an anomaly; should be plus-plus at peak out of bullpen. Grade – Present 5+/Future 7

Curveball: Best secondary pitch; even with arm drag he can still spin it well; good tight overhand rotation; can be downer pitch at times; mechanical inconsistencies lead to trouble controlling breaking ball; above-average pitch at best but doesn't always play there; should improve with higher intensity of bullpen outings; can be plus hammer that is effective against RHH and LHH. Grade – 5/6

Changeup: Consistently trying to improve pitch; has rarely shown feel for throwing effective CH; often too firm and lacks movement when thrown too hard; can show some bit at its best; leaves it up frequently; well below-average pitch that likely won't be reliable relief offering; potential fringe pitch if he keeps working on it. Grade – 3+/4

Control/Command: Problematic; delivery is not conducive to throwing strikes consistently; surprising given excellent athleticism; arm slot varies; arm drags; landing foot is inconsistent; will lose zone completely at times; fringe control profile; below-average command profile; may play slightly better in higher intensity outings.

Other: Massive injury concerns; TJ surgery on resume; has had shoulder problems as well; more elbow issues this spring; needs to find delivery in relief setting; hard worker with passion for the game; despite athleticism, game doesn't come naturally to him; gets off the mound well.

Final Word

Summary: Has arm strength to impact late innings; FB/CB can play to dominating levels when sequenced properly and aired out consistently; built for relief; CH has been slow to develop and is unlikely to be reliable offering; control must develop to make true impact; delivery/mechanics come and go regularly; potential late inning left-on-left arm but shockingly still has development remaining.

Risk: Moderate risk; injury risk should push this rating higher; reached upper levels and move to bullpen mitigates significant amount of available risk.

Projection: Move to the bullpen has been a long time coming; mentality and stuff fit better in relief; likely needs some polishing in Triple-A to evolve within new role; potential 7th/8th inning lefty with power stuff that can miss bats; should arrive in role this year and could make impact in 2015.

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