Tigers Scouting Report #2: Jonathon Crawford

The Tigers surprised exactly no one when they snagged right-hander Johnathon Crawford in the first round of the 2013 MLB Draft, a hard-throwing college arm with tremendous upside. What does he profile to be, and what former Tigers pitcher does he compare well to?

Jonathon Crawford

Vitals

Position: Right-handed Pitcher
Date of Birth: 11/1/1991 (2014 Opening Day Age: 22)
Height/Weight: 6-2/205
Bats/Throws: Right/Right
Acquired: 2013 MLB Draft, 1st Round
Ranking History: #2 (2014)

Background: The Tigers top pick in the 2013 MLB Draft, Crawford posted a 1.89 ERA in eight starts last year for short-season Connecticut. He struck out 21 batters in 19 innings, and walked nine.

Performance:

2013 Stats - Pitching
TEAMGGSSVIPHHRRERBBSOHBPERAWHIPW/L
Connecticut 88019.01505492111.891.260-2


Scouting Report

Body: Strong, mature body; strength is natural; not a chiseled frame; has room for mass on the frame; very good athlete; MLB pitcher's body.

Delivery/Mechanics: Still very inconsistent despite college resume; can get too quick from balance to release; lower and upper body will get out of synch at times; arm is very quick but can't always catch up when he drives too quickly to plate; falls off to 1B hard at times; needs to polish and gain consistency with all facets of delivery.

Fastball: Big arm strength; can run it up to 97 mph; sits 92-95 throughout starts; horse that carries velocity well into deep pitch counts; very good life on pitch; ball isn't easily squared; gets good angle to plate; needs to work down more consistently to slice through zone rather than elevate and lost some deception; really good offering that has potential to be plus-plus pitch as he settles into pro routine. Grade – Present 6+/Future 7

Slider: Nasty pitch; can be unhittable at times; tight rotation; thrown from same arm slot as fastball and with same arm speed; excellent deception; looks like FB until it darts hard away from RHH; can alter shape and give it more vertical depth or horizontal dart; truly impressive second offering; potential to match FB as plus-plus monster down the line; currently easy plus offering and frequently a little more. Grade – 6+/7

Changeup: Inconsistent offering; power arm that lacks feel for CH; often too firm and overthrows the pitch; doesn't have much movement even at its best; decidedly below-average; could reach fringe level with serious work but that's a long shot. Grade – 3+/4

Control/Command: Causes issues at times; elevates FB too much and doesn't consistently move ball to both sides of the plate; delivery needs work and as a result, command drags; will always be more thrower than pitcher; chance for average control profile to keep walks in check; command profile may never truly come.

Other: Relatively fresh arm despite college experience; still learning nuances; very much a thrower; intense competitor.



Final Word

Summary: Classic arm strength guy that can shove it; big FB; filthy SL; control and command are a work in progress; CH is below-average at best; can miss bats with primary two offerings; quality athlete; has ability to maintain stuff deep into starts; could start or relieve and find substantial success.

Risk: High risk; big questions with CH and command; limited full-season resume.

Projection: Big league future without question; role is to be determined; could work in the middle of an MLB rotation as a two-pitch guy in the mold of Jeremy Bonderman; could also excel in a late inning bullpen role; likely to split 2014 between Low-A and High-A; will move to Double-A in 2015 and could be ready later that year.

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