In his final mock draft before the 2013 MLB First-Year Player Draft, Baseball America's Jim Callis projects the Tigers will take Jonathon Crawford, a right-hander out of Florida. The Tigers seem to be the consensus pick for Crawford at this time, as this is at least the third mock that has him taken 20th.
Callis writes of the pick:
Detroit likes pitchers with quality fastballs, which would include Stanek, Gonzalez, Harvey, Anderson and Florida righthander Jonathon Crawford. If the Tigers want a bat, Samford outfielder Phillip Ervin may be the front-runner.
SB Nation profiled Crawford recently, noting that he has a good fastball/slider combination but lacks command. The fastball tops out at 95 mph and sits in the 92-94 range, according to Baseball Prospectus.
The slider is in the 82-85 range with "late bite." The 6-1, 205-pound junior has a 3.84 ERA after 15 games. He has 69 strikeouts and 37 walks in 86 2/3 innings. Last year he had a 3.13 ERA and tied for second among Florida pitchers with 73 strikeouts in 77 2/3 innings. He also made the SEC all-academic team.
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The draft will begin at 7 p.m. Thursday, with the first two rounds televised by MLB Network and streamed at MLB.com. Follow along here at Bless You Boys for David Tokarz's reactions. The Tigers also have the 39th pick of the first round as well as the 58th pick in the second round.
Minor League Ball's John Sickels says Crawford has the potential to be a No. 2 starter if everything goes right, but it's more likely his path to the majors involves the bullpen. "I look at what Crawford is, and what I see is a reliever," he writes. "Don't take this as your only opinion on him, but I just don't see a starter."
Via Baseball Prospectus, here's a video:
Nick J. Faleris of B-Pro writes:
Evaluators will be particularly interested in how his change develops this spring, as that could be the primary factor in determining whether Crawford is able to stick in a rotation at the upper levels. While some evaluators dislike some of the herk-and-jerk leading into his stride, Crawford could win even the non-believers over with a strong spring in a tough SEC.