Nationals pitch potential Dylan Crews to Double A: reports

The Washington Nationals are promoting top prospect Dylan Cruz to Double-A Harrisburg, according to multiple reports. Here’s what you need to know:

  • In 13 games with Single-A Fredericksburg, Crews had 20 hits, 24 RBI and five home runs.
  • The Nationals selected the former LSU player with the No. 2 pick in the 2023 draft.
  • Crews, who hit . 349 or better each season at LSU, won the 2023 Golden Spikes Award in his final collegiate season, which is awarded to the best amateur baseball player in the country.

the athleteInstant Analysis:

Is this a surprising move?

Crews was the No. 1 prospect on board in this year’s MLB draft and has so far had no problem pitching professionally, hitting .351/.424/.649 in 13 games for Fredericksburg’s low, where the overall level of competition might be less than what Crews has seen on weekends while playing in the SEC. Anything can happen in a small sample, but I’m zero percent surprised he’s continued to punch and show his strength against the caliber of promotion he already dominates.

I don’t see much reason to jump Crews two tiers already, though I would infer from the move that they are at least considering making him see the majors this year (otherwise it wouldn’t make any sense whatsoever). If Crews is coming to the majors in 2023, which I can rationalize from a baseball perspective and also view ironically from a job-preserving perspective, moving him to Double A now makes that much easier, assuming he produces there, and allows time for that temporary assignment to Triple A. A (which extends another two weeks after the other minor league levels in September). There’s a Peter Principle that works in potential upgrades – you can’t tell if a player is ready for the next level until they go there, so players are moved to a higher level until they fail. Moving from level to level in a player’s first professional summer reduces risk without a real loss of upside.

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I don’t think a week here versus there materially changes the batter’s outlook on the long run. Crews will likely enjoy the same career no matter where they’ve spent their last two series in August. However, this is a direct slap at the team’s High-A affiliate here in Wilmington. Crews looks like a potential draw, and the Nats chose to deny the Blue Rocks even one home with the 2023 Golden Spikes winner and the No. 2 pick overall in this year’s draft. Managing affiliate relationships is part of the player development job, and affiliates typically expect their parent club’s top prospects to stop by at every level as this can boost attendance. (There are exceptions, of course – many teams are owned by the parent club, college pitchers often skip Low A, etc.) It’s an odd choice to skip *Wilmington entirely since it’s not owned by the Nationals and there’s no real downside to having him play a series or two in High A.

* I admit it would have been a great relief for me if the crew had come to my nearest game here in Wilmington. – Law

background story

As the second pick in the 2023 MLB draft, Crew and former LSU right-handed pitcher Paul Skenes became the first pair of teammates to go #1 and #2 in MLB draft history.

Crews was on an MLB scout’s radar early in his junior year of high school, when his hitting ability and powerhouse ability made him a potential first-round pick when he graduated in 2020. He eventually decided, after the COVID-19 pandemic, to withdraw from the project and go to LSU. Crews won a national championship with the Tigers in 2023 and made draft history nearly two weeks later.

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(Photo: Diamond Images/Getty Images)

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