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Road to The Show™: Nationals’ Crews

No. 4 overall prospect shaping up to be a five-tool superstar
Dylan Crews batted .292 with an .844 OPS across three levels after being taken second overall in July. (Keshawn Ennis/
January 9, 2024's Road to the Show Scouting Report series spotlights players who are just starting their professional careers, focusing on what the experts are projecting for these young phenoms. Here's a look at top Nationals prospect Dylan Crews. For more player journeys on The Road to The Show, click here. Upon's Road to the Show Scouting Report series spotlights players who are just starting their professional careers, focusing on what the experts are projecting for these young phenoms. Here's a look at top Nationals prospect Dylan Crews. For more player journeys on The Road to The Show, click here.

Upon signing with the Nationals, Dylan Crews completed one of the most well-decorated amateur careers ever. His first Minor League action seems to indicate he’ll need to make room on his already crowded mantle before too long.

MLB Pipeline’s No. 4 overall prospect batted .292 with an .844 OPS across three different levels in his first 35 professional games. Crews started in the Rookie-level Florida Complex League before advancing to Single-A Fredericksburg, bypassing High-A and finishing the season with Double-A Harrisburg.

His stint in the Eastern League did not result in a bout with former Louisiana State teammate Paul Skenes, who finished the season with Altoona. In the very first edition of that matchup, Crews launched his first college homer during a National Freshman of the Year campaign in 2021, when Skenes was still at Air Force. But those 20 games with the Senators still put the cap on an historic year for the 21-year-old.

Crews led LSU to a national championship en route to the Golden Spikes Award and the Bobby Bragan Collegiate Slugger Award while earning his second consecutive SEC Player of the Year and Consensus First-Team All-American selections.

Crews was then drafted by the Nationals with the No. 2 pick, one selection behind Skenes, who went to the Pirates at No. 1. The duo became the first college teammates to be taken with the first two picks and the 12th duo ever to be picked in the Top 10 out of the same school.

Long after the season was over, Crews again got his name into the record books. When LSU quarterback Jayden Daniels was named the Heisman Trophy winner in December, he and Crews became the second duo ever to win the Golden Spikes and Heisman for the same school in a calendar year. Robin Ventura and Barry Sanders were the first to achieve this feat for Oklahoma State in 1988.

The native of Altamonte Springs, Florida, has been on the national scouting radar since the first of his four years of varsity ball at Lake Mary High School (Fla.). He began his notable career with USA Baseball in 2016 with the National Team Development Program and eventually led Team USA to back-to-back gold medals in the WBSC Baseball World Cup Americas Qualifier with the 15U National Team in 2017 and 18U National Team the following year. He returned to play with the Collegiate National Team in 2021 and 2022.

When he was first Draft-eligible in 2020, Crews was widely viewed as a first-round talent. But he withdrew from the pandemic-shortened Draft and headed to LSU.

Over three seasons with the Tigers, Crews batted .380 with a 1.187 OPS. In 196 games, he accumulated 58 homers, 237 runs and 184 RBIs. During his junior year, he drew 71 free passes and only struck out 46 times while batting .426 with a 1.280 OPS.

Crews was second to Skenes on MLB Pipeline’s Draft prospect rankings, but the Nationals certainly didn’t see him as a consolation prize.

“He’s got a whole bag full of tools; he does everything well,” Nationals GM and president of baseball operations Mike Rizzo told after the Draft. “His baseball IQ is terrific. He’s a great baserunner -- he’s a fast runner, but he’s a great baserunner also. He plays both sides of the ball, defensively and offensively. He’s got a propensity to barrel up baseballs. He’s an on-base percentage machine.

“Beyond that, he’s got the demeanor and characteristics of a winner and a champion. He was very alluring to every team out there, and we were fortunate enough to grab him.”

Following the Draft, Crews’ time in Rookie-ball lasted all of three at-bats, during which he went 3-for-3 with a double and scored three times. Just two days after his FCL debut, Crews was in the Fredericksburg lineup.

Over 14 games with the F-Nats, he recorded 22 hits, including five homers and three doubles, drove in 24 runs and scored 16 times. Crews was named the Carolina League Player of the Week on Aug. 14, which he capped with a 5-for-5, two-homer, six-RBI performance in the series finale against Lynchburg.

Crews was promoted to Harrisburg on Aug. 21 and actually looked human in the Eastern League. He batted .208 with a .596 OPS in 72 at-bats. Crews did not homer and totaled just five RBIs. But he Nationals, who have been in a rebuild since 2021, can afford to be patient with his development.

During his time in Harrisburg, Crews shared an outfield with No. 7 overall prospect James Wood and Nats’ No. 8 prospect Robert Hassell III. Washington also has 20-year-old outfielder Elijah Green in a farm system that came in at No. 8 in MLB Pipeline’s post-Draft re-rank.

A strong showing down the stretch with Harrisburg may have given Crews better odds of starting his first full season with Triple-A Rochester. Although that remains a possibility, he may likely be headed back to the Senators at least for the start of the season. He still has what it takes to reach the Majors at some point in 2024.

Here's what the experts at MLB Pipeline have to say about Crews:

Scouting grades (20-80 scale)
HIT: 70
RUN: 60
ARM: 55

“Crews generated some first-round buzz as a Florida high schooler in 2020 but ultimately withdrew from the Draft and had a decorated career at Louisiana State. He led the Southeastern Conference with 163 total bases, set a school freshman record with 18 homers and earned National Freshman of the Year recognition in 2021. He encored by swatting 22 homers, sharing SEC player of the year honors and playing for the U.S. Collegiate National Team for a second straight summer before having his best season yet in 2023. He led the Tigers to the College World Series championship, won the Golden Spikes Award and repeated as SEC player of the year while batting .426/.567/.713 and tying for the NCAA Division I lead with 71 walks. The Nationals picked him second overall and signed him for $9 million, the second-highest bonus in Draft history.

MLB Pipeline's top-rated position player in the 2023 Draft, Crews is a plus-plus hitter with plus power, and some evaluators are even more bullish on his bat. He hit the ball as hard and as consistently as any collegian, thanks to a quick right-handed stroke, the strength and leverage in his 6-foot frame and a selectively aggressive approach. After creating some mild swing-and-miss concerns last summer, he's controlling the strike zone and making contact better than ever, repeatedly hammering velocity and quality pitching.

A good athlete, Crews is showing more speed than in the past, with plus run times out of the batter's box despite taking a big swing and well-above-average quickness once he gets going. He can steal an occasional base and has improved in center field, showing the ability to track down balls hit over his head. Most scouts are sold that he'll stick in center at the big league level, and at worst, he'll be an asset in right with solid arm strength.”

Gerard Gilberto is a reporter for