As the highest selection since Matt Barnes in 2011, Reggie Crawford has been selected by San Francisco in the 2022 MLB Draft as the No. 30 overall pick, closing the first round.
Crawford is the fifth Rule 4 first-round pick in program history and the first since Anthony Kay was picked No. 31 overall in 2016.
The slot value of this pick is $2.49 million. Crawford did enter the transfer portal and committed to Tennessee July 12, so if he is unable to come to an agreement with his new team, he would play for the Volunteers next season.
The Pennsylvania native was ranked as the No. 57 overall prospect by Baseball America, No. 63 by ESPN and No. 80 by MLBPipeline.
Crawford missed the 2022 season after undergoing Tommy John surgery last fall, but made quite an impression on scouts since coming to UConn in 2020.
After spurning Kansas City as a 39th-round selection in 2019, Crawford started all 13 games at first base in the shortened 2020 season and earned freshman All-American honors from Collegiate Baseball Newspaper.
He had a slash line of .365/.414/.558, leading UConn with seven doubles and 16 RBI. He failed to reach base in just one game, which ended up being the final contest of the year. Crawford also made his debut on the mound against Michigan the second weekend of the season, facing three batters.
The 2021 campaign saw Crawford break out and become a legitimate first-round candidate. He slashed .295/.349/.543 over 210 at-bats and 51 games, drilling 13 home runs and 62 RBI, the latter of which is fourth in program history and tied with George Springer’s 2010 season. Homers and RBI also topped the Big East, helping earn second-team all-conference honors.
On the mound, Crawford pitched 7 2⁄3 innings across six appearances, striking out 17 hitters, which hit just .172 against him. He also issued just three walks.
Crawford, with true size, at 6-foot-4, 235 pounds, has the potential to be a two-way player, with above-average raw power and a fastball that has touched 99 mph from the left side. However, he has already undergone Tommy John surgery and has fewer than 10 collegiate innings under his belt, so it’s unclear whether he will be able to develop into a starting pitcher, as he will need to refine his change-up and show it can be a true third pitch. As a result, he has risk of becoming a reliever, which is a much less desirable outcome for a pitcher.
San Francisco announced Crawford as a two-way player, so it seems as though he will be permitted to begin his professional career as both a pitcher and hitter.
The Giants organization has a history of taking UConn pitchers, as the team selected Pat Ruotolo and John Russell in 2016 and 2017, respectively.