Moving ahead with our 2017 MLB Draft reports series, we turn out focus back to the college pitching ranks with a look at University of South Carolina right-hander Wil Crowe.
Wil Crowe was well-known to scouts coming out of high school in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. He was strongly committed to the University of South Carolina however, so he lasted until the 31st round of the 2013 draft where he was selected by the Cleveland Indians.
He was very successful as a freshman in 2014, posting a 2.75 ERA in 92 innings with a 59/19 K/BB, but his sophomore season in 2015 was cut short due to Tommy John surgery. He missed all of 2016 on rehab but is back in action this spring, posting a 3.54 ERA in 86 innings with an 81/28 K/BB and 85 hits allowed.
Crowe is listed at 6-2, 250, a right-handed hitter and thrower born September 9th, 1994. At his best he features a fastball as high as 97 MPH, though more commonly he works in the 91-95 range. Movement on the fastball can be inconsistent: some observers report good cutting and sinking action low in the zone, while others describe the pitch as straight. This may vary from game-to-game (more on that in a moment).
Crowe’s secondary pitches are a hard slider, a softer curve, and a straight change. Both breaking pitches flash plus while the change-up should be at least average with a bit more development. He repeats his delivery well, appears fearless, and throws strikes.
Crowe was throwing quite hard when the season began but reports in recent weeks indicate some decline in both fastball velocity and movement. He did fan nine men over 6.1 innings in his last start on May 18th against Georgia, but also gave up eight hits and four runs.
At times the whole has been less than the sum of the parts this year, but this could simply be a side-effect of coming back from surgery. In theory he should be durable given his size, strength, control, and consistent mechanics, but until he gets further past the surgery they’ll be some questions.
At his best Crowe looks like a potential number three workhorse starter. If durability remains a concern he could end up being a bullpen presence and his stuff would probably play up in that role.
On draft day Crowe could be selected anywhere between the late first round and the early third. He could wind up being a bargain for someone: as a redshirt junior who is already 22 years old, his leverage is minimal.
For some reason the only publicly available video of Crowe is two years old but it will have to suffice.