KYLE CRICK, RIGHT HANDED PITCHER
|Born: November 30, 1992
Drafted: 1st Round, 49th Overall, 2011 (Giants)
How Acquired: Trade (from Giants for Andrew McCutchen)
High School: Sherman (TX) HS
Agent: BBI Sports Group
WTM’s PLAYER PROFILE
|Crick was mainly a first baseman in high school, but once scouts saw him on the mound it was clear he’d be drafted as a pitcher. He threw in the low-90s, reaching 97, and showed a potentially plus slider. In the low minors, he showed the ability to miss a lot of bats, but also had control issues that caught up to him when he reached AA. He languished in AA for three years before finally taking a big step forward as a reliever in AAA in 2017. He spent half of the season in the majors and did reasonably well, although his control still has a ways to go. In the majors, his fastball averaged nearly 96 mph, with the slider and an occasional change as secondary pitches. The Pirates acquired him in the Andrew McCutchen trade.
Crick pitched briefly in his debut and had trouble throwing strikes. Baseball America rated him the Giants’ eighth best prospect after the season.
The Giants moved Crick up to full season ball and he had a strong season, despite control problems. He improved substantially over the course of the season, with a 4.05 ERA and 5.9 BB/9 in his first nine starts, and 1.91 and 5.2 afterward. BA rated him the Giants’ best prospect after the season.
Crick missed two months with a strained oblique, but otherwise pitched very well in the hitter-dominated California League, albeit with continuing control issues. BA continued to rate him the Giants’ best prospect.
Crick’s control issues caused him more trouble in AA. Apart from the walks, he was able to average only four innings per start. BA still rated him the Giants’ third-best prospect.
Crick’s control problems worsened and the Giants moved him to the bullpen after 11 starts. The move didn’t help, as his walk rate actually increased slightly in relief. BA dropped him to #27 in a weak Giants’ system, but the Giants did add him to the 40-man roster.
The Giants moved Crick back to the rotation, but the move didn’t work. He evidently toned things down a bit and his walk rate dropped, but his K rate dropped sharply and he became much more hittable. BA didn’t rank him among the Giants’ top 30 prospects.
The Giants moved Crick back to relief in AAA and this time the moved helped. Crick cut the walks to a manageable level and had a very high K rate. In June, the Giants brought him to the majors and he pitched respectably over 30 relief outings. His walk rate remained high, but opponents batted only .191 against him and slugged only .296. His K rate was much lower than it had been in the minors, but his swinging strike rate of 11.0% was above average, suggesting that he can increase the K rate with more experience.
Crick didn’t make the Pirates out of spring training, but got called up after three outings. By late May he was the team’s primary eighth inning reliever. He had a strong season, although the advanced metrics didn’t line up with his ERA. Crick benefited from a slightly low batting average on balls in play of .268, a slightly high strand rate of 80.5%, and a low HR/FB rate of 5.5%. He occasionally had modest control issues. Crick was deadly against right-handed batters, holding them to a 154/261/214 line. Left-handed opponents had a 255/333/340 line.
Crick was expected, along with Keone Kela, to set up closer Felipe Vázquez, but he had a dismal season. He had significant control problems and a massive gopher ball problem, allowing one every five innings. He dominated in April and May, but things went south quickly starting in June. After allowing no homers in his first 21 games, he gave up ten in his next 31. After dominating right-handed batters in 2018, he allowed them an .853 OPS in 2019. To make matters worse, he was involved in two off-field incidents. The second one was a fight between Crick and Vázquez that left Crick needing season-ending surgery on his right index finger. The other incident indirectly involved Vázquez, but whatever issue there was between the two is moot now.
Leaving aside the disciplinary issues, Crick was so bad over the last three-plus months of his 2019 season that he shouldn’t be guaranteed a spot in the team’s bullpen in 2020, especially not when he has an option left. He probably will be, because the Pirates are extremely reluctant to depart from their plans, no matter how unsuccessful they may be.
|2020: Major league minimum
|Signing Bonus: $900,000
MiLB Debut: 2011
MLB Debut: 6/22/2017
MiLB FA Eligible: N/A
MLB FA Eligible: 2023
Rule 5 Eligible: N/A
Added to 40-Man: 11/20/2015
Options Remaining: 1 (USED: 2016, 2017)
MLB Service Time: 2.104
|June 6, 2011: Drafted by the San Francisco Giants in the supplemental 1st round, 49th overall pick; signed on July 5.
November 20, 2015: Contract purchased by the San Francisco Giants.
January 15, 2018: Traded by the San Francisco Giants with Bryan Reynolds and $500,000 in international bonus pool space to the Pittsburgh Pirates for Andrew McCutchen and $2,500,000.