Profile: RHP - 6'3" - 190lbs - BT:R - TH:R - 2011 Age: 24
• FB 92-94: Solid movement when he doesn't get behind his body, poor command. (45-65)
• SL 85-86: Good lateral and horizontal movement, not well commanded. (50-70)
• CH 84-85: Needs work but flashes average (40-55)
The #9 overall pick coming out of college in the 2008 draft, the Nationals gave him a very competitive 3.5m offer which was more than Brian Matusz, the 4th overall pick, or Gordon Beckham, the 8th pick right before him got. Still, that wasn't enough because the player and his agent were insistent upon attaining a Major League contract, something the offer from the National was not. After a year of Independent League baseball, Crow re-entered the draft and the Royals picked him 12th overall in 2009 and finally signed him with a 3.0m MLB deal.
Unfortunately the combination of Crow's decision to turn down Washington overtures, combined with him signing late with the Royals ensured that he didn't end up making his professional debut until 2010. The Royals tried to make up for this late start by debuting him with the AA Northwest Arkansas team but the decision backfired and he got hit very hard, displaying difficulty missing bats, with spotty control. The Royals were eventually forced to demote him to High A where he was able to get back on track.
In terms of pure stuff, Crow should have little trouble he throws a hard fastball that lives comfortably in the mid-90s and his slider could be a real plus pitch with good movement - the problem is his lack of command of his fastball hasn't consistently allowed himself to work into positions where he can use the slider as a put away pitch.
When you look at video of Crow from last year, it's pretty clear why he's struggling, his mechanics, especially on his fastball are just completely out of whack. It almost seems like he's trying to overthrow the pitch and in the process, he's letting his body get ahead of his arm. There were other times though when I thought he did a good job, dialed the fastball back a little bit, and looked better. The key for him might be to just slow down a bit, because the pure stuff is there, and it's really good.
Crow was certainly the victim of some bad luck with high BABIP marks, and very low LOB rates at both stops, and that explains a lot of the bad ERA. But still, his performance at AA was thoroughly uninspiring as he averaged fewer than seven strikeouts per nine and nearly 4.5 walks, he'll need to show marked improvement in each category going forward.
If he can get his control issues figured out, he has the stuff to be a #2 starter. If not, he'll profile as a bullpen arm who could dominate the back end of games.
Corey Ettinger is a proud contributor to both 612Sports.net, 312Sports.com, and 313sports.com. He also provides extensive analysis of the American League Central Division at his own blog, AL Central In Focus.