It is good that this list finally has a top 10 Nationals prospect who is a starting pitcher. With the likes of Lucas Giolito, Reynaldo López and Dane Dunning traded away, some new arms needed to take those pitchers’ places in the system.
The Nats are always keen on Southeastern Conference pitching and a team with College World Series experience like South Carolina is always a good place to start.
Wil Crowe, a second-round selection in the 2017 First-Year Player Draft, is No. 7 on the list of Nationals top 10 prospects, according to Baseball America.
No. 7 RHP Wil Crowe
“Wil Crowe is a guy that has a chance to move through the system really quickly,” said national writer Carlos Collazo. “At the same time, he is a guy who had Tommy John injury in his past that forced him to miss his entire 2016 season at South Carolina. He came back from that and pitched well. He also had a really good start to pro ball. He had a 2.96 ERA (nine starts) across two leagues.”
Crowe, 23, made two starts for the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League Nationals and made seven starts for short-season Single-A Auburn. He struck out 17 and walked four in 24 1/3 innings. Crowe demonstrated in that abbreviated showcase that he has several pitches that might be able to be very good in 2018 and beyond.
“And then he showed four average or better pitches. His fastball is probably the most consistent pitch right now,” Collazo said. “It has been up to 97 mph that we have heard. Actually, we are doing the best tools list for the Nationals for 2017 draft class and his name was brought up for best off-speed pitch. What was interesting is some guys in the organization liked his curveball and some guys liked his slider. So he has a chance to have three plus pitches right there with the curveball and slider depending on how that develops.
“I’ve heard from more people that like the curveball currently, but the fact that we are getting that feedback from both those pitches is encouraging.”
But the bottom line is that Crowe has shown so much from the fastball and that his other pitches are developing is a very good sign that he is right where he needs to be in his development and shows top potential and ability to improve going forward.
“He also has a changeup that is fringe average to solid average at this point,” Collazo said. “So that’s a guy with four average to above-average pitches. Definitely an above-average pitcher with the fastball ready with solid control. That’s what you are looking for. He has a chance to be a middle to back of the rotation guy and can move pretty quickly. I guess if he takes steps with his off-speed pitches, you have a chance to get a No. 2 starter if everything goes perfectly. But I would say middle to back end of rotation is probably a safe bet.”