In the last few weeks I have been weeding through the draft prospects for the 2009 draft, cutting a list of 15 players down to three possibilities for the Pittsburgh Pirates’ number four pick (the list doesn’t include Stephen Strasburg, who is number one for obvious reasons). The second finalist I will detail is Aaron Crow.
Who He Is: Crow was taken in the first round last year with the ninth overall pick by the Washington Nationals. In the end he didn’t reach an agreement with Washington. It has been reported that Crow wanted $4 M, while Washington was offering $3.5 M. Crow decided to go on to the Indy leagues, where he currently is 3-0 with a 1.06 ERA and a 17:5 K/BB ratio in 17 innings. Crow went 23-8 in his career with Missouri, posting a 3.27 ERA. His best season was 2008, when he went 13-0 with a 2.35 ERA, and a 127:38 K/BB ratio in 107.1 innings pitched.
Why the Pirates Should Take Him: Baseball America rates Crow the seventh best prospect in the draft, and the fifth best pitcher. The reason I like Crow more is due to his fastball. He was rated with the best fastball in the 2008 draft. This is mostly due to a good combination of speed (92-96 MPH), a hard sink, and Crow’s control, which extends to the late innings. The benefit with Crow is that he will probably have a quick path to the majors. Right now he’s playing in the Indy leagues, which could be compared to A ball. The Pirates could put him on a fast track and see him up by this time next season at the earliest.
The Only Drawback: The big problem with Crow last year was the fact that he waited to sign. This means he probably won’t be signing until August 15th, although I don’t think he’ll go unsigned two years in a row. There are also questions about Crow’s size and delivery, with worries that he’d be more of a closer than a front line starter. Crow is listed at 6’3″, which is just as tall as most of our current rotation, so I don’t think that’s much of an issue.
Potential Cost: Crow was asking for $4 M last year. I don’t think he will cost more than that this year. Only a select few pitchers have received more than $4 M over the last several years, and Crow isn’t a David Price or Rick Porcello type pitcher. It’s also rare for pitchers to get $4 M, with most of the top guys in recent drafts getting around $3.5 M at most.
The Bottom Line: Crow has been rumored to go with the number three pick, so there’s no guarantee he falls to us. However, he could provide us with a potential top of the rotation starter. His performance in Indy ball is encouraging, and I believe he will be on a fast track through the minors, with his potential debut coming between mid-season 2010 and early 2011.
Next up: Jacob Turner on Saturday. There will be a new poll up on the site after tonight, asking for your ideal pick if Stephen Strasburg and Dustin Ackley are off the board. Don’t forget to vote!