With the MLB Draft quickly approaching, the question on everyone’s mind is, who are the Pittsburgh Pirates going to take with the number one pick?
Granted, there are a few options out there, but the two that have the biggest cases are both LSU products in RHP Paul Skenes and OF Dylan Crews.
Now, it’s hard to pass up on a pitcher like Skenes, who easily throws 100+ mph with a wipeout slider and the potential for a plus changeup, but the obvious choice has got to be Crews.
One of the best examples I can give you is the past Pirates series against the Miami Marlins.
Mitch Keller went seven innings with one run given up, Luis Ortiz went eight innings with one run, Osvaldo Bido went 5.2 with two runs, and finally, Johan Oviedo went seven with one run.
In all four of those starts, the Pirates managed four runs just once, and the rest were three or fewer.
The Pirates need offensive help in the biggest way imaginable, and guys like Henry Davis can’t carry the team on his back for an entire year.
So without sounding redundant, Crews is the best option for the Pirates currently, and he offers a potential solution or at least a reinforcement.
College baseball is a bit confusing when you look at the whole picture, and sometimes you have to look at a smaller sample size to see if a player’s merit holds true.
Crews plays in one of the most competitive conferences in the SEC. Each year you can see a gradual improvement, and 2023 is when he took off.
In 145 plate appearances in the SEC, Crews slashed .405/.545/.685 with eight homers, one triple, five doubles, and 30 RBIs.
Crews has career highs in ’23, with his K% at 13.8%, his walk rate at 21%, and his wRC+ at 189. In terms of SEC rankings, Crews is number one in wRC+, with Wyatt Langford of Florida and Charlie Condon in second place with 184.
Another positive sign for Crews’ selection at number one would be his wOBA at an astronomically high .555 which again leads all of the SEC and is ranked fourth in the whole country.
Now there are some mild concerns with Crews’ numbers.
His groundball percentage is a bit higher than you’d like at 49.8%, which is the highest it’s been in his three years. In 2022 it was 43.7%, and in 2021 it was 43.8%.
With the groundballs ticking up, his line drives have dipped down to 13.3%, which is 3.5 percentage points lower than ’22’s high mark.
When you take a look at the bigger picture, it just makes sense to draft a player who can play every day, as opposed to a player who can play every five days.