RHP Wil Crowe
24 years old
University of South Carolina
The 2017 top selection for the Nats, right-hander Wil Crowe won his first 11 decisions in 16 games (15 starts) with high Single-A Potomac, recording a 2.69 ERA.
But after his promotion to Double-A, Crowe ran into some tougher competition and went 0-5 with a 6.15 ERA. So, instructional league was extremely valuable to Crowe, according to Nats pitching coordinator Paul Menhart. Coaches focused on Crowe getting more aggressive with his delivery and not allowing the hitter to have any easy swings.
“He started to understand the importance of throwing the ball over the plate with conviction,” Menhart said. “Got himself into a stronger position with his legs so he could repeat it a little bit easier. Very productive, extremely productive instructional league for Wil Crowe.
“He took the bull by the horns and was out every morning working on what we deemed would be getting into better positions to deliver the ball. So, he was out every morning working on it.”
Menhart said the 6-foot-2, 240-pound Crowe worked very hard during instructs to get better, and took each day and each workout seriously, getting to the facility early each time and leading by example in front of the other pitchers.
“He took a leadership role with all the drills we were doing,” Menhart noticed. “He really impressed me with the leadership quality that demonstrated. It was kind of special. Crowe, and (left-hander) Nick Raquet was another guy that took a leadership role. You don’t normally get to see that happen after one full season. They kind of got comfortable as leaders.”
Menhart also pointed to right-hander James Bourque as another pitcher who stepped up to take control of the drills and lead the team each day of instructs.
“I’ll throw James Bourque in there because he was down here as well, working on his fastball command,” Menhart noted. “We didn’t even let him throw a curveball down here. I think he had a nice lesson and believes now that he can get guys out with his fastball. He doesn’t always have to go to that curveball. He definitely got better, too. He has a better understanding of how to pitch.”
Crowe had 16 walks in his last five starts after his promotion to Double-A Harrisburg. Menhart said coaches emphasized to Crowe during instructs the importance of better command in the strike zone.
“The stuff is there. It’s just throwing the ball over the plate,” Menhart said. “Trusting that he can expand when necessary, limit his walks. He has a few too many walks for our liking. He just needs to trust his stuff. His stuff is plus across the board. Everything he has got. Everything he brings to the table is plus. Now trusting it over the plate is a hurdle that he is beginning to understand and get over.”