Casey Crosby was selected in the fifth round of the 2007 First-Year Player Draft out of Kaneland High School (Ill.). The 6-foot-5, 22-year-old southpaw has been labeled as high as number two in prospect rankings. However, his unfortunate injuries have some fans and scouts a bit skeptical these days.
Crosby relies heavily on his mid-90s fastball. His arsenal features a low 70s curveball too. He occasionally features a mid-70s change-up. He is said to have good poise and mound presence on the bump.
After missing all of 2008 with Tommy John surgery, Crosby quickly made up for lost time and emerged as the Tigers number one pitching prospect in 2009. That season Crosby was assigned to Low-A West Michigan Whitecaps. Aside from occasionally pitching through blisters on the fingers of his pitching hand he remained healthy enough to log nearly 105 innings. He was limited to a pitch count of 75, so he seldom lasted more than five innings. Despite the pitch count he still racked up an impressive 117 strikeouts and recorded 10 wins. Crosby was later named the 2009 Detroit Tigers Minor League Pitcher of the Year and was back on the prospect radar.
ANOTHER LOST SEASON:
Going into spring training last season fans had CrosbyMania. However, Injury struck again and Crosby was once again shelved. An official announcement was eventually made that he was bothered by elbow soreness. Although the severity was unknown, it was stated that it would delay his season debut in Advanced-A Lakeland. A few months later he began throwing, attempting to rehab. However, the Tigers made the decision to once again shut him down after he posted an 8.76 ERA in three rehab starts with the GCL Tigers.
At this point Casey Crosby can be accurately defined as one awesome minor league season, peppered with hype, sandwiched in between two unfortunate injuries.
I want Crosby to succeed so bad that it seriously hurts. Gigantic left handed starting pitchers that throw in the mid nineties don’t grow on trees. When healthy and on the hill Crosby simply dominates. A healthy and productive Casey Crosby would definitely impact the Tigers in a positive way. I’d like nothing more than to see him kick the injury bug so he can get back on track.
Recently Lynn Henning reported that Crosby has changed his delivery and is well on his way to recovery. Perhaps the only thing better than Crosbys’ words was hearing Jon Matlack-roving minor league pitching instructor for the Tigers-speak about his velocity and improved change-up.
“I’ve thrown only three bullpen sessions since I got here (Jan. 5), but I definitely feel like I’m getting there,” Crosby said. “I feel as good as at any point since 2009, if not better. All I know is, I’ve got to produce and put up some big numbers. I’ve been here four years.”
“His repertoire hasn’t changed,” Matlack said. “His velocity has been up to 97 since Day 1. That’s not going away. His breaking ball is better, and his change-up, which was probably non-existent when he first arrived, has become a third pitch.
At just 22 years old, time is still on his side. He should begin this season in Advanced-A Lakeland and would still be younger than most of his competition. At this point his biggest hurdle is simply staying healthy. He is flirting with entering Kyle Sleeth territory and not to far away from joining the Zumaya/Guillen club. This recent health update from Henning was a breath of fresh air though. Hopefully he picks up where he left off and has an injury free season. With the pipeline already stacked with talented prospect starters like Jacob Turner, Andy Oliver and Drew Smyly, one can’t help but imagine just how special Detroits rotation possibilities could be if Casey stays healthy. He has tremendous upside and is certainly worth keeping tabs on this season.
Keep an eye on Casey Crosby as he continues to earn his stripes down on the farm.