Written by: Mason McRae (@mason_mcrae)
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Last week, Prospects Live hosted an inaugural 30-team MLB mock draft, with team-centered industry personalities becoming the temporary GM and drafter of the team they cover.
I drafted for the Blue Jays, and with the 42nd pick of the draft, I selected outfielder Dylan Crews, a standout at Lake Mary High School in Florida. It was the obvious pick for me as Crews was the top player on my board (10th), and the closest player left was Drew Romo (20th).
— Mason McRae 📊 (@mason_mcrae) May 2, 2020
Why I took Crews that high was no secret: he’s been my favorite high school bat since last June when I had him in the top-five overall. The meat of Crews’ game is a lightning fast bat that remains in the zone for a long time, extending at seemingly the last second to allow him to tap into his above average power.
While the frame (6-foot, 180 pounds) doesn’t profile as a prototypical corner-outfielder, there’s still an outside shot he lands in center. I’ve said it all spring, fall, and summer long: Crews has the most advanced bat in the class. There’s no wasted actions, and every singular motion throughout his swing contributes to the hell he frequently unleashes on baseballs. It’s no mystery why somebody like that gets such a high rank.
Dylan Crews is almost perfection mechanically. Upset I couldn’t find a behind home view of Trout, but both start vertical and work top-to-bottom, have posture leaned back at contact, replace forward bend w/ side bend, and keep lead arm flexed. Crews is a first rounder IMO. pic.twitter.com/hRBD9Fq9cT
— 🧩 (@eccentricladdie) April 20, 2020
My track record with Crews is quite extensive, spanning to when I ranked him inside the top-five overall at the beginning of a lousy summer in 2019. Since then, the outfielder has dropped as low as 13th on my board and as high as 3rd. As of now, the Lakewood, Florida product sits at 10th overall. If you compare my ranking to that of other notable publishers, you’ll notice just how bullish my ranking of the LSU commit is (Baseball America: 54th, Prep Baseball: 33rd, FanGraphs: 36th, Pipeline: 68th).
The ‘demise’ of Crew’s ranking on nearly every publisher’s board stemmed from late-summer contact issues that led to his omission from one of USA Baseball’s most talented outfield groups in a while (including Robert Hassell III, Pete Crow-Armstrong, AJ Vukovich and Austin Hendrick). The on-field blemish Crew’s 2019 was summer was the All-American game, where he started in center field and hit second. The teenager went hitless, with four strikeouts. It was a low-point for him, and the teenager likely won’t be immune if prep players are moved down draft boards due to a shortened 2020 season. But if you’re a team that values mechanics and tools over a spotless track record of success versus elite competition, Crews is your guy.
My full report on Crews is one of the more in-depth write-ups in The War Room:
“Going into the summer of ‘19, Dylan Crews’ name was in virtually everybody’s top-10. But after a disappointing summer that saw his name left off the USA 18u roster – he tumbled down boards, all the way into the 40s on MLB Pipeline’s board. Even through the downfall of Crews’ summer, I’ve held him in high regard on my board, keeping him in the low-teens, and still viewing him as the most advanced hitter in the class. Crews is another name in a deep class of prep outfielders, with the likes of Austin Hendrick, Pete Crow-Armstrong, Zac Veen, and Robert Hassell III all earning similar first round hype. The Lake Mary standout is looking to join Brendan Rodgers – a third overall in 2015 – in becoming the second player to get drafted in the first round from Lake Mary High School. The core of the Dylan Crews’ game comes from a heavily desired swing that is reminiscent of Robinson Cano’s – he starts in an athletic base and slowly lifts his front leg before using some of the most aggressive leg torque you’ll see from an amateur hitter. He still manages to stay really smooth in his swing even with all of the aggression, and the outfielder has hands that are capable of getting to any pitch in any spot of the zone; he has outstanding balance in his core that allows him to adjust to any pitch. The Florida product is far from the only prospect coming from the Sunshine State, as Zac Veen has been regarded as the top-ranked Florida prospect and Alejandro Rosario, Coby Mayo, Carson Montgomery and Timmy Manning all have gotten high level looks. As much as I love the positives of Dylan Crews’ game, the negatives have begun to worry me. The 6’0/200 outfielder will likely be limited to a right-field only profile because of his unspectacular speed, but the arm is well above average, clocked in the low-90’s at the PG National. Crews’ frame is maxed out, with little to no projection left, so his future power output could simply be a linear progression from where he currently stands. However, the hit-tool, which gets double plus marks by some, still has some room to grow, with some approach-related issues and a knack for struggling against advanced velocity and spin still needing to be ironed out. If you want a pre-draft profile to compare, Tyler O’Neill – a former third round pick by the Mariners – has similar hitting traits and struggled against advanced competition later in his pre-senior summer like Crews. Both share similar body comps as well. Pros and cons combined, Crews is still a future middle-of-the-order thumper with an elite swing that I could see slotting into a late first round selection.”
While Crews lacks high end tools that would make him a hypothetical cornerstone for an organization, his all-around game is something teams will be coveting in next month’s MLB Draft. Here’s how he grades out for me: Hit: 60, Power: 55, Speed: 50, Defense: 50, Arm: 55. Fantasy players might call Crews well-rounded. Traditional evaluators will likely refer to him as a five-tool prospect. I simply prefer to call him talented, and his bat is one of the most advanced in the 2020 high school class.
Follow P365 MLB Draft analyst Mason McRae on Twitter! @mason_mcrae
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Featured image courtesy of Dylan Crews’ Twitter account (@__dc4__)