The last time the Detroit Tigers got to pick in the first round was 2010 when they selected Nick Castellanos and Chance Ruffin (sent to Seattle as part of the Doug Fister trade) with the 44th and 48th picks respectively. Even then, being in the “first round” was as compensation for losing two ‘Type B’ free agents. This year, however, they picked 20th — an actual legitimate first round pick — and selected Jonathan Crawford, a right-handed college pitcher out of the University of Florida.
Here’s a scouting report on Crawford, as provided by MLB.com:
There’s nothing like a no-hitter at a Regional to raise your profile a bit. Truth be told, Crawford would be high on radar screens anyway with his pure stuff, though some inconsistent performances during his junior season kept him from being among the top few college pitchers on this list. He has a plus fastball that can touch 96 mph and throws a hard breaking ball to go along with it, a combination he used well for Team USA over the summer. Crawford is strong with a good delivery and arm action. As big as his stuff is, though, he will have to learn to soften it up somehow in the future. Everything he throws is hard, and the ability to change speeds more effectively will be a necessary skill to refine going forward.
Here’s the MLB.com scouting video.
It’s no surprise that Dave Dombrowski and his crew selected a power arm, but it definitely sounds like Crawford is going to have to work on his secondary stuff if he hopes to make it as a starter in professional baseball. If he can’t learn a third pitch, he may ultimately be a bullpen guy — the MLB Network crew threw out a Ryan Perry comp.