Pirates Draft Prospect Watch: The Dylan Crews Show Continues

The Pittsburgh Pirates have the first overall pick in the July 2023 MLB draft. Our draft preview looked at the top prospects for the pick.

Every Monday, we’ll recap notable performances from around the prep and college ranks, with video to give you an early look at who could be available to the Pirates. This is our eighth weekly recap of the weekend action for the top college draft prospects.

If you missed it from Saturday, we had a look at two new draft prospect rankings. If you are following our draft coverage, you might recognize all of the names they mention.

Dylan Crews was our first draft prospect profile. The LSU outfielder went 0-for-3 with a walk in a shocking loss to Nicholls during a mid-week game. He then took on Alabama over the weekend, starting with a 2-for-4 night on Friday, when he hit his 12th homer and drove in four runs. He also added a walk. Crews went 2-for-4 on Saturday, with two singles, two runs, an RBI and a walk.

He went 2-for-3 on Sunday, with a homer, three RBIs and two walks. He’s hitting .490 in 43 games, with 12 doubles, 13 homers, 49 walks and ten HBP.

Here’s his wall-scraper from Friday night

Here’s his Sunday homer

LSU right-handed pitcher Paul Skenes is a top five draft prospect, with many sources now ranking him second. He was our fourth prospect profile. His last three starts have been his worst of the year, though none would qualify as bad. He took on Alabama on Friday and had a strong performance, going six innings on one run, five hits, no walks and nine strikeouts. The only possible downside here is that he threw 109 pitches over those six frames.

Skenes in now 8-1, 1.93 in 65.1 innings, with a .159 BAA and a 124:12 SO/BB ratio.

Here’s a video. It’s just one pitch, but they show three different angles

Chase Dollander is considered to be a top two pitcher in the class right now, along with Skenes. We took a closer look at him in our second prospect profile. The University of Tennessee right-hander went up against Mississippi State this week. Dollander hasn’t been performing as hoped this year, and this outing won’t help his case. It appears that his #1 hopes have completely slipped after going three innings on Friday, with four runs on five hits, two walks and two strikeouts. 

Dollander is now 5-4, 4.24 in 57.1 innings, with a .229 BAA and 82 strikeouts.

Florida outfielder Wyatt Langford has a chance to go #1. He was our sixth draft prospect profile. He has been rated near the top all year, with some giving him the tools advantage over Crews. Langford went 2-for-4 with a double and two runs scored against North Florida in the mid-week game. He then took on Missouri over the weekend.

He went 1-for-3 with a walk, stolen base and RBI on Friday. He went 3-for-5, with three singles and three RBIs on Saturday. He went 4-for-5 with a double and a homer on Sunday. He’s hitting .397/.536/.765 through 38 games, with 14 doubles, three triples and ten homers.

Here’s the Sunday homer

Jacob Wilson from Grand Canyon University has a long shot at being the #1, but he’s still a top ten prospect. The son of former Pirates shortstop Jack Wilson went up against Oregon State on Monday, when he went 0-for-3 in a 12-3 loss. GCU had two games against Long Beach State and two against Nevada over the weekend. He went 2-for-5 with a double and two RBIs on Friday.

Wilson went 3-for-4, with a double, walk and an RBI in the first game of a doubleheader on Saturday. He had an 0-for-5 night in the second game, though he had a run, RBI and stolen base in the game. He went 2-for-4, with a homer and two RBIs on Sunday. He’s hitting .412/.463/.654 in 39 games, with 23 extra-base hits and five strikeouts in 175 plate appearances.

Here’s the homer, which should have been caught, but at least you get to see Wilson’s speed around the bases

Shortstop Jacob Gonzalez from Ole Miss has probably lost his shot at going #1 by now, but he could be helped by finishing strong. He has to do better than the 0-for-4 he had against Mississippi State on Monday. He played Georgia over the weekend. Gonzalez went 0-for-4 with an RBI on Friday. He was 1-for-3 with a single and HBP on Saturday. He went 1-for-3 on Sunday, with a home run, three runs, two RBIs and two walks.

He’s hitting .315/.442/.562 in 44 games, with 16 doubles and eight homers

Here’s his Sunday homer

Walker Jenkins was our third player profile article. His stats are going to be hard to come by, but I’ll add updates where I can. He has been walked a ton this year, so the video highlights are few and far between. Here’s a video of him from the past week, lining a triple into the gap

Max Clark has been added to our watch recently. The Indiana outfielder was profiled here in our fifth article for the series. His season started on April 1st, so there’s still not much to go on yet that isn’t in his recent profile. As with Jenkins, stats will be added when possible. Clark had two hits this week in a game, including a triple. Video is shown here. At the time he had a .615/.776/1.179 slash line through 15 games.

John started working at Pirates Prospects in 2009, but his connection to the Pittsburgh Pirates started exactly 100 years earlier when Dots Miller debuted for the 1909 World Series champions. John was born in Kearny, NJ, two blocks from the house where Dots Miller grew up. From that hometown hero connection came a love of Pirates history, as well as the sport of baseball.

When he didn't make it as a lefty pitcher with an 80+ MPH fastball and a slider that needed work, John turned to covering the game, eventually focusing in on the prospects side, where his interest was pushed by the big league team being below .500 for so long. John has covered the minors in some form since the 2002 season, and leads the draft and international coverage on Pirates Prospects. He writes daily on Pittsburgh Baseball History, when he's not covering the entire system daily throughout the entire year on Pirates Prospects.

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I was just looking over Crews’ and Langford’s stats at B-R and their sophomore seasons were remarkably similar (Crews: .349/.463/.691 for an OPS of 1.153 and Langford: .356/.447/.719 for an OPS of 1.166). Their career OPS values are 1.222 (Crews) vs. 1.208. This season the difference in their OPS values (1.500 for Crews vs. 1.300 for Langford) is largely due to about 100 points in BA–their ISO’s are essential identical (.270 vs. .268) while Crews has a slightly higher BB rate (24% vs. 21%). The numbers don’t seem to support that we’d be getting more power with Crews, or at least not as much as seems to be the perception.

Looking a little deeper, Crews has put up bigger numbers in SEC play, but I wonder how much of that has been due to Langford’s injury–in his first 5 games back he was 3 for 18 (.167) but since then he’s gone 19 for 44 (.432), still not at Crews’ .500 but he’d be a clear 2nd in the SEC.

All to say, stats-wise, they’re similar enough that it should be almost entirely about scouting (and maybe bonus demands).


not that i’m THAT concerned with this, but has Crews been playing CF and doing it well?

his hitting seems transcendent enough for me to not care if he’s “only” a right fielder, but him being a real CF would end absolutely all debate in my head.


I don’t think we can go wrong with any of Crews, Langford, or Skenes, though if Skenes’ coach allows him to go above 100 pitches many more times, that would be a red flag for me. At this point I’d lean Crews after leaning Skenes, but I also might go with Langford if it leaves money for high upside picks later. Obviously, I’d need to know more about what scouts think. I just think there is a clear top 3, but is there also clear separation between Crews and the other two?


That’s where I pretty much am. One combination of those three is ok with me. I will note that last week, Keith Law hinted that the Bucs are leaning likely position player. Longenhagen also stated in an article last week that it’s rare to have prospects like Crews or Rutschman end up as a 60 in draft day.

Wilbur Miller

Well, BC has gone hitter on every 1st rounder, so leaning that way seems like a given.

I could use a break from hit-tool guys, though.


I’d love to see Crews with the Pirates. That said, the Angels currently posses two of the best players in the major leagues, perhaps in history, and haven’t been able to generate even a pennant race. Super starts are nice but not necessary to develop winning teams. Besides the scouting report regarding Crews five tools, there are other considerations. I’m about to write something that has been criticized here. Who’s his agent? If it’s Scott Boras, Crews may well be more expensive and problematic than he’s worth in the short time he’ll be a Pirate.


you realize that youre suggesting that the pirates purposefully take worse players, right?

his agent doesnt impact his price “in the short time he’ll be a pirate”.

Thats all arbitration.

i think youre really really really really really really overthinking things.

If you want to make an argument that his bonus demands are too high and than Langford + using langford savings on a great prospects who drops would be better use of bonus pool money than using all the money on just Crews, then thats a valid-enough debate.

but like… i dont think that’s what youre doing here. seems like you dont want them to take any player that might be expensive someday.

Last edited 1 month ago by jaygray007

i dont care if his agent is scott boras. you have nearly *seven* years of mlb time with a prospect before you give a shit if his agent is scott boras.


if he becomes too expensive for the pirates after his 7 years with them, then that means that things went *extremely* well.


Come on bro, no need to get unnecessarily cute. Try finding a single Division winner, let alone world series champ, that won without a star player.


I’m not sure how the Angels plight is relevant to the Bucs. The Bucs have a solid team, decent rotation, decent farm system…in other words, depth that the Angels haven’t had almost at any point in Trout’s term.

In fact, what the Bucs are missing in their system is what exactly Crews (or Skenes) might be: a star. You need those to win, and right now, the Bucs don’t have any. A bunch of solid players, even above average players, yes. But other than Cruz, I’m not sure they even have any right now that project to stars in the organization. Too early on Termarr, Endy/Davis look like a potential solid combo, etc.

As for the agent part, that’s a good way to paint yourself into the Dave Littlefield sandbox by refusing to draft players if they’re with a specific agency. Bad policy.

Last edited 1 month ago by ArkyWags
Wilbur Miller

You just need to give the Bullington pick more time.


The angels are an example of a poorly run organization. Their pitching staff has been terrible for a decade. They spend big money on players who don’t produce big results (pujos, rendon, cj Wilson, etc). Along with their top young prospects not developing into mlb regulars. You can’t rely on two guys carrying a team. Now if it’s the NBA, that’s a different story.

b mcferren

there may be a hole in the clemente wall by the end of it


He definitely would pepper the clemente wall or the stands with those shots to right.


If only Crews was so good, he could jump from college to MLB. I CAN’t wait to see a guy who has only K’d 21 times in 202 PAs. What a novel concept. A batter who strikes out less than 11% of the time. Even if it is in college


Look at Neto, he made it in less than a year.

Wilbur Miller

If he’s a Pirate first rounder, you have to include a year and a half for injuries.


Agree, lol,


What if I told you that half of the top hitters (by wRC+) in MLB last year sported a K rate over 20%. Pitching is tough these days, guys are gonna swing and miss.


What if I told you that only a third of the top 30 hitters by wRC+ had a K-rate over 20%.


You caught me cherry picking! You’re definitely right though. Unless you’re a massive guy like Judge/Ohtani/Cruz where big levers will bring more K’s, really good hitters will be in that low 20’s high teens range in the current environment.

I’m not sure where Crews would fit in, K-wise. It certainly seems like he’d be over 11%, given that some write ups hinted at swing and miss.

Also, looking at the Bucs…is Jason Delay the new Luis Arraez?


Delay has been looking like a legit mlb hitter. He might not be a slugger but his oba is higher than Hedges ops in the same short sample.


We are gonna sign him and send him to the FCL instead!


Who was the pitcher for Nichols?

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