After going on a brief winning spree, the Mariners spent the weekend getting utterly swept in Houston, because they just took a DNA test and it turns out they’re 100% those 2019 Mariners. So let us again, as we do every Monday and sometimes on like a Wednesday or something, turn our eyes towards the shining promise of the 2020 draft, where the Mariners remain firmly locked in position #6 at the time of this writing. To catch you up if this is your first time dropping by this particular series: the 2019 draft was thinner than a philosophy major’s job prospects; the 2020 draft promises to be much richer pickings, both at the collegiate level and amongst the prep class (click the “2020 MLB draft” tag at the top of this page to read about players we’ve covered so far). This Sunday is the Perfect Game All-American Classic, live from Petco Park and broadcast on MLBN, so this week we’re going to focus in on some prep talent.
We’ve already covered one top outfield prep prospect in Pete Crow-Armstrong; today we look at fellow outfielder Dylan Crews. Crews is a 6’0” right-handed hitter from Lake Mary HS in Florida, and there’s a good argument to be made about whether he or Crow-Armstrong is the top outfielder in the prep class. Crews has impressed at every major showcase event, never shying from the spotlight, and will be one to keep an eye on at this Sunday’s PGAAC.
If you like Jarred Kelenic (and who doesn’t, really), you’ll like Crews as well; like Kelenic, Crews has worked tirelessly on his swing, hitting 2-3 hours a day in the batting cage in his backyard, which manifests in a similarly mature approach at the plate. Crews, who always has a plan at the plate, has the solid plate discipline the Mariners love, not striking out often and being willing to take his walks (here’s a video in which he takes ten pitches before you see him swing). Another similarity to Kelenic is his quiet, balanced swing, with minimal load and elite bat speed, although Crews has a bigger lower body and is the more physically imposing of the two, with legitimate power to all fields. Crews describes his swing as “free and easy,” and says what he’s learned from working out with pro players is to try to keep things simple. His swing is effortless, even, and I love it:
Second stop of the day: Under Armour All-America workout day. Here’s 2020 OF Dylan Crews. pic.twitter.com/g3py57WMmi— Ben Badler (@BenBadler) July 21, 2019
We had Dylan Crews (FL) as the highest-ranked prep player at the PDP League & after a few days of games I feel good about that. Here he is homering on a 91 mph FB. #MLBDraft pic.twitter.com/SyXi0BMEpt— Carlos Collazo (@CarlosACollazo) June 29, 2019
That’s not to say his swing can’t do plenty of damage. Turn up the sound on some of those videos and listen to the sound the ball makes coming off his bat. Crews can put a hurting on a ball, according to both numbers:
Was swinging the stick with @__dc4__ today and he put a pretty good swing on this one.... pic.twitter.com/xTLO4zKPKH— Matt Gerber (@M_Gerber17) April 2, 2019
And the good ol-fashioned eye test (sound on for this one, and a shoutout to the enthusiastic video-taker/big fly appreciator here):
Oh yes, he did! Getting you ready for the first pitch of @LMRamsBaseball versus @bokeybaseball with this Dylan Crews monster home run, hit on his 17th birthday! @CoachJP22 @PBRFlorida @LMHSRams @__dc4__ @osvarsity pic.twitter.com/jSPYpIWyAz— @fanvuu (@fanvuu) March 15, 2019
Defensively, Crews plays center now, but likely profiles as a corner outfielder. However, he says he’s been working hard on his defense recently, from tracking the ball to getting better drops. His arm is fine, strong and relatively accurate, and with the power in his bat, he’ll fit in nicely in a corner. (There’s video of him making a good sliding catch, but the graphics production is eye-gougingly terrible and watching it literally gives me a headache, so I’m not going to embed it; if you so dare, click here and skip forward to the 8-second mark)
Dylan Crews 2020 OF from Longwood, FL (LSU commit) had a great workout with a 6.62 60, 92mph from the outfield, and 100mph exit velo. 2019 National Showcase pic.twitter.com/NWvPzQmtFZ— PG Showcases (@PGShowcases) June 11, 2019
My love language is “pure hitter,” although Crews also has the power to go along with his excellent hit tool. As for that “sixth tool,” character, he came off as mature and thoughtful in a recent interview with Baseball America, someone who is aware of what he needs to do to move his game to the next level and more than willing to put in the work to get there.
How happy would I be if the Mariners drafted Dylan Crews? This happy*:
That gameday feeling. First pitch in less than 15 minutes #NoMatterWhat | #ForGlory | @__dc4__ pic.twitter.com/B1HFj8dciP— USA Baseball (@USABaseball) November 28, 2018
*backflip may take form of celebratory shot. Terms and conditions apply. Magnificent flow required at time of purchase.