Baltimore Orioles rookie pitcher Stefan Crichton made his major league debut on April 16th, giving up five hits and two runs in 1.2 innings of relief work against the Toronto Blue Jays. Crichton has received little attention as prospects go, so let’s change that.
Stefan Crichton had successful freshman (1.98, 42/10 K/BB in 50 innings) and sophomore (3.41 ERA in 95 inning) seasons at Texas Christian University and was positioned for an early showing in the 2013 draft. Alas, a poor junior year (6.59 in 41 innings) knocked him down the draft lists. He was selected in the 23rd round by the Orioles and elected to sign rather than return for his senior season.
He’s performed reasonably well in minor league bullpens, posting a 3.40 ERA with a 68/13 K/BB in 79 innings in A-ball in ‘15, then a 3.73 ERA in 72 innings in Double-A in ‘16 with a 61/21 K/BB. He threw eight shutout innings for the Orioles in spring training this year, fanning seven, walking nobody, and getting himself on the promotion list for when the Orioles needed a bullpen arm.
Crichton is a 6-3, 200 pounder born February 29, 1992. He has solid fastball velocity at 93-95 MPH, occasionally hitting 96-97, and he’s done a good job throwing strikes with it. He mixes in a slider in the 81-84 range. Both pitches are heavy and generate large numbers of ground balls, but he doesn’t have much of a change-up, precluding use as a starter.
When his command is working, Crichton looks like a stereotype middle reliever, certainly a useful thing to find in the 23rd round.