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Pirates Draft Prospects: Dylan Crews Leads the 2023 Class

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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 Dreker
John Dreker
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.

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