We posted our 2023 MLB draft preview last weekend. That was followed on Monday by our daily weekend recap of the college action. Both articles were led by LSU outfielder Dylan Crews, who is considered by most to be the top prospect in this year’s draft. It’s only natural that our first player profile article takes a look at Crews.
Crews is going to be mentioned here a lot this year, unless he takes some sudden plummet down the draft charts. The Pittsburgh Pirates have the first overall pick on July 9th. That’s still four full months and a few days away, but he’s not doing anything early on that says he could fall out of that top spot.
Crews has played one game since the weekend update, going 1-for-4 with a single and walk on Tuesday against Texas. That gave him a .519/.649/.741 slash line through eight games. He has three doubles, a homer, seven walks, three hit-by-pitches, and five strikeouts in 37 plate appearances.
Crews is a right-handed hitter/thrower, who just turned 21 years old this past weekend. He stands 6’0″, 203 pounds. The report from MLB Pipeline for Crews says that his two best tools are 60 grade hitting and power. He’s a 55 grade runner, with a 55 for his arm as well. His defense rates the lowest of all tools with a 50 grade.
Their scouting report calls him a plus hitter with plus power, who some scouts rate even higher than they (Pipeline) do. He makes consistent hard contact, with an understanding of the strike zone and an aggressive approach. They say that he handles quality pitcher and strong velocity well.
He runs the bases well, but doesn’t project to be a big stolen base guy. His defense in center field is helped by his speed and strong arm, but there are some who think he might end up at a corner spot. The bat will play regardless of his position.
Moving on to the Baseball America report, they say his strong 6’0″ frame gives him “double-plus raw power”. They also praise his contact ability, as well as his exit velocity numbers. Both sources note that he has some trouble with good changeups, and that’s where most of his swing-and-miss comes from. BA adds that he can have some trouble against good sliders as well. They also praise his strike zone judgement.
BA has the same opinions on the running and defense, saying his above average speed and plus arm could help him stick in center, but many scouts see a corner outfielder who will hit in the middle of a big league batting order.
Fangraphs rates him as the only player with 55 Future Value in the draft class. Their report only adds that he uses the whole field well, but they back up everything else, including future potential on offense/defense, and his swing-and-miss being more pitch specific than an overall problem.
Right now it seems safe to say that Crews would go first overall if the draft was held today. He’s going to be followed closely here all spring/summer leading up to the draft. There are some other players with top pick potential, but if you put percentages on it today, Crews would be well above the percentage for the rest of the field. Those other players will be profiled here in the upcoming weeks.
Anthony Murphy put together a video of his opening weekend this year, so you can check out his at-bats:
Crews had a great performance for Team USA last year that got him even more notice than before. Here are some highlights from BA.
John started working at Pirates Prospects in 2009, but his connection to the Pittsburgh Pirates started exactly 100 years earlier when Dots Miller debuted for the 1909 World Series champions. John was born in Kearny, NJ, two blocks from the house where Dots Miller grew up. From that hometown hero connection came a love of Pirates history, as well as the sport of baseball.
When he didn't make it as a lefty pitcher with an 80+ MPH fastball and a slider that needed work, John turned to covering the game, eventually focusing in on the prospects side, where his interest was pushed by the big league team being below .500 for so long. John has covered the minors in some form since the 2002 season, and leads the draft and international coverage on Pirates Prospects. He writes daily on Pittsburgh Baseball History, when he's not covering the entire system daily throughout the entire year on Pirates Prospects.
Players I like better:
I wouldn’t take Davis at 1 though, because he’s gonna have to learn to play baseball.
Crews sounds like the best player, hopefully he keeps getting better.
Those scouting reports are a little sobering, however. I know we already all knew this to be the case since we’ve been keeping tabs on this guy for awhile, but its worth emphasizing that we’re not talking about a Bryce Harper generational talent here. This is a 6 foot right handed hitting corner outfielder. The scouting reports sound like Crews is someone who could peak making the All Star game 3-4 times, instead of becoming one of the top players in the game.
Thats probably a pretty darn good return for a 1st overall pick. But you can’t blame a guy for hoping for more. I know I’m projecting way out in future, but thats exactly what we’re all trying to do – I’m probably just as bad as the next guy. I just hope whoever we draft first overall, Crews or no Crews, turns into a bonafide star.
I hear you. Get the number 1 pick, you are hoping there is a Griffey or a Harper sitting there, but that’s life. You’d wish Crews was a little bigger and honestly a better prospects, but the stache and the potential Wrecking Crews nickname have me sold.
The stache does make a strong argument…
If I’m making the selection, that moustache makes him the #1 pick and it’s not even close.
A little man crush going, GW?
Maybe a little. I just respect (and envy) great hair, including facial hair.
Can’t feel too sorry for whomever the Pirates draft, after all he will become rich, but as far as his baseball career goes it’s the equivalent of being thrown into the black hole of Calcutta!
John, if it looks like Crews is the guy for the rest of the spring, will you shift focus to pick #42 , or is that too much of a wild-ass guess?
Doubt the kid will be there at 42 but I’d be thrilled if Cam Johnson was available with that pick. Big, hard throwing lefty out of IMG Academy. Pipeline had him ranked at 50 I believe. The knock on him is he wore down toward the end of last season but a year older and stronger might be able to nullify that
I can sort of answer that if u want my opinion.
My wish list at 42 would be a college arm. Brandon Sproat, Carson Montgomery, JuaronWatts-Brown, Pat Reilly, TJ Nichols in that order.
I also really like the SS from Pepperdine, John Peck. You would have to look him up on Twitter or YouTube. I don’t believe he’s ranked by major outlets yet but he will be. Maybe Peck lasts to 67 or 73.
If I guy like, Brock Wilken, falls to 42 that would be awesome. But that’s doubtful. He’s a middle of the order power bat(3B/1B/DH) with crazy Exit Velo’s. But he’s most likely a DH so I could see teams passing on him and MAYBE he’s still there at 42.
Another position player I really like is Chase Davis; a power hitting LH OF. Kemp Alderman is a power hitting, DH/OF, I wouldn’t mind after a college arm at 42. He’s 6’3, 230-250 pounds and RH power bat. Probably moves to 1B/DH in the pros.
Or even taking a HS arm at 67 or 73 (which I don’t know much about). Or another college arm with a lot of upside, like Alejandro Rosario, Kristian Curtis or George Klassen. All these guys have electric stuff but less polish than the first guys I mentioned.
That’s acouple names to follow and look up I guess.
Do the Pirates need an impact OF bat or a TOR SP more? This might be the determining factor on who is chosen 1-1. Well, that and money. We are talking about the Pirates after all.
Take. The. Best. Player.
Agree. And it’s starting to look fairly obvious that the best player likely isn’t a pitcher.
Perhaps the right team but it might be a different player
Right, the team that spends every dollar they can on talent acquisition. Or maybe I misread you.
I understand they will spend all of the allotted draft money. What I was insinuating is Pirates may choose the player who will command the lowest signing bonus at 1-1 in order to draft a tough college commit later on. A strategy that may make sense if there’s another Bubba Chandler this year.
They have done that and they’ve done other approaches. We will see.
Jacob Wilson and his 80 grad on base ability is the type of player this front office has its eye out for these days
The 2023 class seems to be a strong one. At this point of the rebuild, the BPA ought to be the rule used. The Pirates have a strong system, but it’s a thin system. Crews would be the cream that the prospect wonks can’t find in the system.
Linked is a partial list from the D’Backs who might be considered above Pittsburgh for a few more weeks
Could you help me identify a “thick” system?
According to FG, it would be CLE, LAD, and TBR over the Pirates
Baltimore. Arizona. More prospects who look like stars, than Pgh.
I like the fact that he doesn’t have swing and miss issues.
Nick G.’s k-troubles are concerning.
Nick G has swing characteristics of Hiura and a couple other once highly rated prospects (Carter Kieboom and Jeter Downs) who also have swing and miss issues. Pirates development team hopefully will help him get this sorted out. Fingers crossed.
The Nick Gonzales FG write up and those comps are comically bad
I’ll try to write something on those topics in the next week
I thought you loved FG’s analysis though?
Ok. Love to see Nick G makes everyone eat some crow.
Pirates development team? I’m pulling for him as much as anyone but he may be better off watching Youtube videos on how to hit than trust the Bucs staff.
Just in jest. I knew what you meant. I assume there has to be a few people in the developmental team that know what they are doing.