MLB Draft: Detroit Tigers Squeeze Value Out of First Round Picks

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Feb 26, 2015; Goodyear, AZ, USA; Cincinnati Reds pitcher Jonathon Crawford (84) poses for a picture during photo day at the Reds Player Development Complex. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

2013 MLB Draft

Jonathon Crawford, SP – Florida

The Tigers went with a college starter with the 20th overall pick in 2013. Jonathon Crawford was sent to short-season Connecticut for the remainder of the 2013 season where he put up very good numbers in a short stint (1.38 ERA and nearly 10 strikeouts per nine innings in 18.2 total innings of work). He stepped up to full-season West Michigan last year and put up a good ERA (2.85), but didn’t really match that with with strong secondary numbers (17% strikeout rate and 10% walk rate).

The Tigers packaged Crawford and shortstop Eugenio Suarez and sent them to the Cincinnati Reds this offseason in return for Alfredo Simon. Simon has been one of the most reliable starters in the Detroit rotation this season, but his peripheral statistics (and track record) suggest he’s going to regress back into being an average (or worse) pitcher.

There have always been questions about whether Crawford will stick as a starter or if he’ll have to transition to the bullpen. If he’s a bullpen guy then it’s no sweat losing him in the trade, but if he can grow into a starter (even a number three or four guy), then it will be harder to swallow a few years down the line when the Tigers are hurting for cheap and reliable talent.

Crawford has yet to make an appearance for a Reds affiliate in 2015. He was apparently injured in spring training and had been throwing in extended spring training in Arizona. That report came in late April.

Next: 2012 MLB Draft: No First Round Pick (Prince Fielder)