Jonathon Crawford throws a no-hitter (via Tepleh)
Jonathon Crawford, RHP, Florida
Birthdate: 11/1/91 Age at Draft: 21.73
Crawford went to Florida behind rotation mate Karsten Whitson but surpassed him in his sophomore year. He only pitched 3.2 IP as a freshman but he stepped up to 77.2 last spring, posting a 3.13 ERA with a 72/24 K/BB. He struck out nearly a batter an inning and though his walk rate was low, he doesn't have the greatest command. His delivery is not as smooth as you'd like but it is effective, at this point.
His fastball is as good as it gets. It sits 93-95 and bumps up to 98. He can carry that velocity deep into games. His strong build allows this, although his mechanics can work against him. He has a hard, sharp breaking slider that can be a strikeout pitch. He doesn't command it well but it is a swing and miss pitch.
The slider has potential to be a big league out pitch, but it will take some refinement. . .okay, I think it will take quite a bit of refinement. His change is rudimentary and needs a lot of work. For these reasons, many observers already think that Crawford is headed to the bullpen.
This isn't all bad, because he would be slotted in the late innings most likely and could be an excellent closer.
Going into the spring, many see Crawford as the best arm on the Florida staff. Here is what I see. I see a guy with a killer fastball. I see a guy with a good breaking ball that needs polish. I see a changeup that could be a fringe average MLB pitch. I see a guy who has imperfect mechanics that may work better in the bullpen. With a hell of a good spring, again, Crawford could be a top 10, even top 5 pick who could become a number two starter if the changeup comes around.
However, I'm different than some analysts and I don't look at just one year. I look at what Crawford is, and what I see is a reliever. Don't take this as your only opinion on him, but I just don't see a starter. Crawford reminds me of what I saw from Austin Maddox last year. Maddox has a better breaking ball and a similar fastball, and I'd take Maddox's change over Crawford's. If Maddox is a reliever, then Crawford certainly is.