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Cubs Acquire OF Prospect Evan Crawford

Matt Swain

Illinois engineering student, way too emotionally invested in the Cubs.

With Mike Fontenot now headed out of town to the greener pastures of a pennant race, the Cubs continue make investments in their farm system. Even if the prospect has just the faintest chance of contributing at the major league level, you are turning a guy who is a backup with little value to a losing club and turning him into a guy who can potentially help a winning team down the road, and that is the right move to make.

Which brings us to Evan Crawford.


Crawford was a 9th round draft pick by the Giants in the 2009 draft out of Indiana University. He had a moderately successful career as a Hoosier, during which he hit .320 or higher every season and racked up 63 career stolen bases.

Baseball America had this to say about him coming out of school:

Former infielder Evan Crawford looked more comfortable as an outfielder in his junior season, but his athleticism still has yet to translate well to the diamond. He makes good use of his plus speed on the bases but not as much in the outfield. He has yet to fill out his 6-foot-2, 165-pound frame, doesn't have much pop from the right side of the plate and doesn't control the strike zone.

After signing for $110,000, he had a successful start to his career split among the Giants two short season affiliates in 2009 before making his full season debut for Augusta in the South Atlantic League (SAL or Sally League) this year.

2009 20 Giants Rk 16 73 1 1 0 7 9 0 5 15 .273 .324 .318
2009 20 Salem-Keizer A- 31 129 8 2 1 23 5 2 9 30 .316 .375 .447
2010 21 Augusta A 109 477 12 12 4 29 24 9 35 108 .255 .319 .366
2 Seasons 156 679 21 15 5 59 38 11 49 153 .268 .330 .376
Perhaps the most intriguing skill that presents itself in his stat line is his ability to hit triples, and compiling 12 in a season is no small feat. Still, the strikeout totals are concerning, and there appears to be a considerable amount of growth still necessary for Crawford. Normally that wouldn't be a terrible thing, but for a 22 year-old with 3 years of college ball and 1.5 years of pro ball under his belt, it's somewhat concerning.
To get an updated perspective on Crawford's progress this season, I consulted Mike Newman, who runs Scouting the Sally, probably the best league specific scouting site out there. Here's what Mike had to say:
Evan Crawford is a lottery ticket, albeit an older one.  Positives include quick hands and speed which rates as a 70+ on the 20/80 scale from home-to-first times I've pulled from video.  Other areas of his game are quite raw.  He has too much movement in his swing which negatively affects his timing.  Crawford's routes in the outfield also leave quite a bit to be desired and his arm strength is fringe at best.  But as scouts will tell you, "you can't teach speed", and Crawford has it.
You can find a more full report from Mike including scouting video here.
While there appears to be some significant upside in Crawford, it's a big reach to think of him as a future major leaguer. To quote Mike's scouting report:
At best, (Crawford) projects as a set of legs off of a big league bench with spot playing time, but Double-A pitching will likely carve him up before that ever happens.



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toonsterwu said:

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Nice writeup Matt. I probably agree with the general sentiment that I have my doubts on whether or not he can really move up the ladder a lot. At the very least, though, the Cubs are collecting a lot of speed in the system, and they got him for a guy in Fontenot who had lost most of his value/role here.

Cubs Fan Report said:


Thanks for the scoop. It sounds like this guy could be the next Joey Gathright. Name doesn't ring a bell? Well, there you go.

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