Tigers take Jonathon Crawford with top pick

The Tigers’ return to the first round of the First-Year Player Draft took them back to a familiar theme: They went for power pitching.

With the 20th overall selection Thursday night, the Tigers selected University of Florida right-hander Jonathon Crawford, sticking with the organizational belief that a team can never have enough pitching. In Crawford’s case, they’re hoping they have their latest pitching prospect to follow in the footsteps of Justin Verlander, Rick Porcello, Drew Smyly and since-traded Jacob Turner.

Crawford ranked 17th on MLB.com’s list of top 100 Draft prospects, and was among the more highly-followed college pitchers all spring after throwing a no-hitter for the Gators in the NCAA Tournament last year. With a mid-90s fastball, a solid two-seamer and a late-breaking slider, the 21-year-old has a power pitcher’s foundation.

“He has a power arm with a plus slider,” Tigers vice president of amateur scouting David Chadd said in a release Thursday evening, “and we’re thrilled to have the opportunity to add him to our organization.”

Chadd was among those who scouted the Tigers’ top first-round options, including Florida at the SEC tournament.

The key for Crawford to become the Tigers’ next pitching prospect is expected to be his ability to change speeds and round out his arsenal. Crawford was working on that this year with his changeup.

Crawford had mixed results this spring in his junior season at Florida, going 3-6 with a 3.84 ERA in 15 starts. He led the Gators with 86 2/3 innings, 37 walks and 69 strikeouts. He tossed 6 1/3 innings of one-run ball with five strikeouts against Austin Peay in the NCAA regional last week before ending up with a no-decision. He still earned a spot on the NCAA regional All-Tourney Team.

The season, plus the rise of other college arms, took its toll on Crawford’s draft prospects after once being considered a potential top-10 pick. The talent, however, is still there, and it still drew the Tigers’ attention.Crawford’s sophomore year was his breakout season, producing a 6-2 record and a 3.13 ERA, including a 2.56 ERA in Southeastern Conference play. He also made the SEC Academic Honor Roll.

In the NCAA regionals, Crawford had his shining moment, tossing a no-hitter against Bethune-Cookman. He faced one batter over the minimum as he helped the Tigers on their way to the College World Series for the second consecutive year.

For a kid who didn’t make the roster as a freshman on a Gators team that reached the championship round of the College World Series, it was a major step forward.

“He’s grown up a lot,” Florida coach Kevin O’Sullivan told the Gainesville Sun earlier this year. “He’s very competitive. He lets his game do his talking. …

“He’s been through a lot of adversity here. He’s self-made. He’s earned everything he’s gotten. I’m very proud of what he’s been able to accomplish for us.”

Crawford is the Tigers’ first selection in the first round since 2010, when Detroit had a compensation pick near the end of the opening round and used it on now-top prospect Nick Castellanos.

The Tigers have two more selections tonight. They hold the 39th overall pick at the end of the first round as well as their second-round pick at the 58th overall spot.

39 Comments

Closer to home……….Nick Castellanos is more than handling his own at AAA.
In the event of another injury to an outfielder I would think would see him called up.
This guy is going to be a star.

He hits with power to center and right center, so wouldn’t it be nice if they ever brought those fences in??
I’m sure our rotation would not be thrilled with that though.

Henning ,again, is dealing Garcia.He wants that badly because he blocks Castellanos ´s road since he has more upside. But if Castellanos is ready, that means Garcia is being showcased. According to MLBTR he was offered in a trade last year.
For what I have read , Castellanos cant really play third base( he also wants Cabrera traded ). or LF He is another DH in search of a position.

I put Garcia ahead of Castellanos because he is the only good RF we have after Hunter. Nick can’t be that bad in LF?

Garcia for bullpen help. Jose Ortega and Darin Downs haven’t looked good in the past 10 innings or so. Dotel is MIA. Nobody is pitching well in AAA except for arguably rondon until he fell apart the other night. We hope to win the WS using Coke, Smyly, Valverde huh? Yep that’s right Drew Smyly only dude worth a fart in the pen. Best rotation in history. Best offense.
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If this team is in win now mode Garcia is on the table for sure. If not then keep him – he’s gunna be great.

You can make arguements for matt hoffman and jess todd are pitching well in AAA. honestly i just don’t know anything about them so i didn’t even glace at their stats. Anyone have an opinion on one of those guys being able to help the club?

I would never trade a potential five tool player for a relief pitcher. The rumor was that Avi was offered as part of a package for Shields.

That is the best case scenario, The other one? a long recovery for Jackson and a Castellanos, Garcia, Hunter OF

A reliever with the second pick

98 MPH and a problem for allegedly covering a teammate

problem for what?

He supposedly provided a urine sample for a teammate needing it to cover the use of Aderall ( its banned by NCAA but is mostly used as “academic” doping)

interesting! my pee is clean if anyone wants to borrow it – at least for academic doping!

Academic doping was my addition. Aderal is widely used by college students to be ready for exams. My point: no big deal .

I can’t say as I have seen NC play but my feeling is that an athletic kid, highly regarded, and starting out as a shortstop must suggest he has some defensive abilities. I don’t think you bring up a kid to DH.
If he can’t play LF then that means we are still in dire need of someone who can. Tiger fans are getting pretty sick of not having a legitimate left-fielder year after year after year.

I saw him in right with Erie for a game and several in left during the Spring. He looked good in left and made a heck of a throw to cut a guy down at the plate that when it was hit, I did not think they had any shot at the plate. I have read that he graded out to be an average glove at 3rd. Hitting is his best tool.

AlAl is not pitching like he is coming back anytime soon.
Rondon is the next guy in line IMO.

I haven’t seen the article where Henning is trading Garcia, but sometimes Lynn sounds like someone commenting on the internet. ;-) My opinion is they’d be crazy to trade Garcia. The kid isn’t even 22 years old yet (next week), is under team control with a low salary, and has a big upside. Don’t let a few weeks in the majors color your opinion. The great Bryce Harper air mails cutoff men all the time.
I have seen Castellanos in spring training and the kid is obviously a good hitter. You can see it. I was thinking of a Jackson/Castellanos/Garcia outfield in the near future.
Bottom line, don’t trade the future to win a division we’ll probably win anyway. No matter how infuriating the team looks sometimes.

At twitter.

Garcia was as puzzled as us after that throw. He came from an injury , played a couple of week . Then was benched and now is looking to find his game again

Garcia for Shields, yes. Garcia for a reliever, no. And what I have seen from Castellenos, he is a hitter, pure hitter. He will be in the lineup somewhere soon. Garcia – Jackson – Castellenos is a potentially dangerous OF with Dirks as a 4th OF

abeit i want to win the WS. something we probably can’t do with the bullpen arms we have. Unless BV, ALQ and Dotel come bak

A thought on our pitchers not wanting the fences moved in: seems to me that it’s our hitters who pay the price, not the opposition. Closing that gap a little would help us. Our sluggers go up the middle a lot.

It would also add a little sensibility to the park’s dimensions. I like character and uniqueness but that area in right center is begging to be “fixed”.

Garcia’s stock is clearly rising, whether he stays in the organization or not. a very professional AB today with one out runner on 3rd. went deep to opposite field for a sac fly add on run in pinch hit spot.
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One attribute Garcia adds which is lacking in the upper levels is athleticism. probably 2nd only to Jackson in MLB/AAA levels. his performance in this recent cameo should give the GM pause when it comes time to make a deal.

Well said, I loved the Sac Fly. Garcia took what was given to him for a big run.

And yes, Garcia’s atheleticism is fun to watch. And he is still very young.

Someone just sent me this stat:
Max Scherzer is only the second pitcher in major league history to, through 12 starts, be undefeated (8-0) and have at least 100 strikeouts
pretty impressive

very very cool!

That is and Max could easily be 10-0. Back in April he had back to back starts where he gave up only 1 ER in each game but got no decisions.

I am a little worried about the draft for the Tigers. The MLB tape of Crawford shows him all over the place. And he did not do well this year at Fla and some scouts are saying he is destined for the bullpen. And then a College closer in the 2nd round. Smells of the 08 draft with Ryan Perry.
The lefty from Vandy is a great college pitcher, saw him pitch here in South Carolina. He does not throw hard, but is a polished pitcher already. He will probably be pitching tonight for Vandy.
Also a kid from my town was drafted by Tampa Bay in the 1st round. HS Catcher, hits lefty, strong kid. My neighbor (who was on his team) says he is going to go to USC (South Carolina) without a doubt. What a decision for an 18 year old. $2 M signing bonus dangled in front of you. Pretty crazy.

Agreed. Do not trade Avisail. If you have a strong arm, outfield is an easier position than short or third. didn’t Alex Gordon go from third to left? Congrats to Max! IMHO, I like right center and I have sat in the bleachers close to the wall a few times. Go Tigers!

ok but i don’t wanna any more crying about the pen. garcia could potentially save it…..

Yes Dad.

ill turn this car around right now, rich!
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which reminds me of a fun story. in the 70’s my grandfather entered a contest in the local (GRapids) regarding who could come up with the best “seatbelt slogan” and he won. The winning entry was “if you love your kids, belt them!”

local newspaper that is

Who would you play tonight against the righty? Alex (good last game) or Pena (hitting .800 of ubaldo)….

Alex, he is starting to get more comfortable. Don’t upset that momentum now.

“Matt: Some of this logjam will be sorted out by guys coming off the DL (Jackson). But expect an OFer to be dealt in July.”
“Can’t see them dealing Castellanos for two reasons: (1) Potential No. 3 hitter. (2) Also plays 3B, That’s no-trade gold.”
Henning

Portwineland, you are spot on regarding Ziomek. Iam Vanderbilt grad and follow baseball team. He does not throw as hard as his teammate Beede but is polished. Ziomek improved significantly between last season and this season.

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