You should see the preparation I've been doing for these posts. No foolin'. Whenever I come across an interesting draft tidbit, I bookmark it. More than that, though, I have twelve different folders of bookmarks, each folder corresponding to a different amateur player. Sure, most of them are to the usual sources -- Baseball America, Kevin Goldstein, et al -- but I've still been doing some research. Hey, this back isn't going to pat itself.
So now that it's time to sit down and write about Aaron Crow, I click on my handy dandy bookmarks toolbar...and come up with this as my only link for Crow-related information. It's not a Rick Roll, as those actually have a scintilla of redeeming value. So, yeah. I'll be right back. I'm going to do some research.
My first impression of Crow: I'm not a fan of the whole college-to-independent-leagues-back-to-the-draft thing. Oh, it's not a rational reaction. Just because I have reverse-sugarplum nightmares of Matt Harrington, doesn't mean that Crow's path is indicative of a prospect who's more likely to fail than any other. It just weirds me out. That, and there aren't any college stats from 2009 to drool over. Where's the fun in that? Crow has made two starts for the Fort Worth Cats, and scouty types have been impressed.
And why wouldn't they be? I've been watching the small, half-minute MLB.com draft report videos for a couple of years now, and Crow's video might be the most fascinating one I've ever seen. To recap the pitches from the video: two-seamer with goofy movement, two-seamer with goofy movement, and a hard, biting slider. Good gravy. His four-seamer can get above 95 MPH, and the 2008 draft report from MLB.com says he has a "good feel for the changeup."
If the superlatives kept going for a couple more paragraphs, there wouldn't be a chance for the Giants to sniff him with the sixth pick. His mechanics aren't crowd pleasing, as scouty types note his tendency to wrap his wrist behind his body when he throws. Kyle from Driveline Mechanics isn't a fan, and here's an extremely detailed breakdown from the late, great SaberScouting that conveys a healthy amount of fear without denying Crow's talent.
Gee, it'd be a shame if a pitcher's funky delivery let him fall to the Giants. That's never worked out well before.
Of course, there's no guarantee that it'd work again. Tim Lincecum is the genetic code wedged in a snowflake's thumbprint -- blessed and unique is he. But it's a funny business that equates "different" with "bad", especially when "conventional" so often leads to "broken." Not that I have any significant insight on Crow's delivery, mind you. It could be a total abomination. The stuff is there, though. The stuff is...just, wow...if you'll excuse me, I'm a gonna watch that draft video again.
One last thing to consider is that Crow's arm is pretty fresh right now. He hasn't gone through the normal rigors of being a Friday night starter for a championship contender, throwing 140 pitches if the manager thinks it's appropriate. The team that drafts Crow should see him in their system this year. That has absolutely no bearing on his potential, but it adds some entertainment points to the pick. And, apropos of nothing Crow-related, here's an update on Kyle Gibson (subscriber only), who was Crow's teammate on the Missouri Tigers last year:
Bzzt. When I get my hands on millions of dollars, I will do a lot of silly things. Handing stacks of the money to a right-handed pitcher who's ending his season topping out at 87 mph: not one of them. Maybe the gun was cold, and maybe the report is inaccurate, but that's not a comforting report. Gibson just slipped to about 30th on my fake draft board, which is so useless, I might have well as written it in crayon and decorated it with spirographs. Still, it's there when I need it. Crow rockets close to the top of the list of attainable players.