Evan Crawford Scouting Report (2010)
The newest member of the Chicago Cubs organization, Evan Crawford spent 2010 the season with the Augusta GreenJackets prior to being dealt. Crawford posted a .255/.319/.366 line with twenty-four steals in thirty-three attempts. And while he makes a relatively strong first impression, the luster wears off over the course of a series or more. In seeing him play a handful of times, his line is representative of the player Crawford is.
Physical Projection: Let’s face it, scouting types love lean, wiry frames and Crawford fits the mold. At a listed 6’2″, 167 lbs., Crawford resembles an underdeveloped 19-year old and not a player who recently celebrated his 22nd birthday. Is this a bad thing? No, but only if the Cubs feel they can bank on being able to bulk him up. With his frame, this is going to be quite a challenge.
As an athlete, Crawford is better than most, but I would place him in the category of “very good” versus “plus” at this point. Instead of being fluid, his baseball actions are more “herky jerky” which looks as if he’s playing out of control.
Offense: On the positive side, Crawford shows the ability to stay inside the ball at times flashing a shorter, more compact stroke. Unfortunately, flashes mean he’s behind the learning curve for true prospects his age. The extra movement in his stance and load hurts his timing quite a bit. I have concerns about both the significant amount of bat wiggle and his double-tap prior to contact. It creates a lack of rhythm in his swing making it very difficult for him to repeat his swing which is a vital part of being consistent. As he strides, Crawford also drops his hands into an extremely weak hitting position. It leaves him susceptible to fastballs at the letters. However, his open stance does allow him to pull balls down-and-in consistently. Whether this is a product of his cheating a bit by starting his swing early, or quick hands is up for debate.
In terms of pitch selection, Crawford is not afraid to work deep counts. However, I’d attribute this more to laying off all offspeed offerings to hide a weakness and not good pitch selection. Crawford looks for the first decent fastball middle-in and tries to yank it down the line. When he’s forced to fight off pitches with two strikes, I’ve seen curveballs make him look silly in the box. For teenagers, this isn’t a big problem….yet. However, at twenty-two, it’s a glaring weakness.
Defense: With good straight line speed, Crawford covers plenty of ground in centerfield. However, his route running is relatively weak and his arm is fringy at best. The lack of polish may force a move to left field at some point, but an organization would be misguided to move him at this point.
Speed: In pulling two home-to-first times from my video, I had him in the 4.05-4.1 range leaving him a solid 70 on the 20-80 scale. In baseball, the saying is “you can’t teach speed”, and this is where much of Crawford’s value comes into play. While he incorporates his speed pretty well into his offensive game, his base running skills could still be tightened up quite a bit. On defense, his plus speed allows him to make up for his poor route running to a point, but certainly isn’t utilized to its maximum potential.
In Crawford, the Chicago Cubs organization is receiving a lottery ticket, albeit an older one which raises significant cause for concern. With his inability to handle breaking pitches, he could be exposed immediately in the Florida State League. It’s easy to see why a team would target a player with speed and athleticism, but the job of ironing out the many kinks in Crawford’s game is going to be daunting to say the least. At best, he projects as a set of legs off of a big league bench with spot playing time, but Double-A pitching will likely carve him up before that ever happens. Even if the Cubs are able to fix his load and swing mechanics, how do you teach a player to handle breaking pitches? With it being more of a acquired skill, his learning curve may just be too steep for a player his age to catch up.
20 Jan 2014 / Mike Newman /
1-On-1 ROTO Strategy Session
The Best Of RS
- Can Alex "Chi-Chi" Gonzalez Crack the Texas Rangers Opening Day Rotation?
- Fantasy Baseball Trade Deadline 101: A Former MLB GM’s Take
- Felix Hernandez and Solo Home Run Situations: A Blueprint For Longevity
- JR Graham: Is He Still An MLB Arm For The Atlanta Braves?
- Mason Williams: Is It Time To Label Him A Bust For The Yankees?
- Mike Newman's Top-50 Fantasy Baseball Prospects Scouted in 2014
- Nick Kingham Scouting Report (2014)
- Rangers Joey Gallo, Marlins Giancarlo Stanton And Strikeouts
- The ROTOscouting Baseball Podcast
- Top-10 Fantasy Baseball Prospects By Team
- Will Mike Moustakas Finally Put It Together Next Season?