SF Giants blown away by top lefty pitching prosect, make surprise assignment to Double-A

2024 San Francisco Giants Spring Training
2024 San Francisco Giants Spring Training / Andy Kuno/San Francisco Giants/GettyImages

Hard-throwing lefty Reggie Crawford was relatively green with pro experience but he impressed the SF Giants with how he was throwing according to Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports Bay Area. In response, they gave him a surprise assignment by sending him straight to Double-A according to the team's transaction log.

SF Giants blown away by top lefty pitching prosect, make surprise assignment to Double-A

The Giants selected Crawford in the first round of the 2022 draft out of the University of Connecticut. He was drafted as a two-way player despite missing his final college season after undergoing Tommy John surgery.

The 6-foot-4 prospect continued to see time as a position player even if he offered higher upside as a pitcher. He was sent to the Arizona Fall League in 2023 where he struggled to the tune of a .558 OPS in 71 plate appearances. Shortly thereafter, the Giants had him focus solely on pitching going forward.

The lefty returned to the mound in 2023 and continued to flash the potent upside that made him a first-round pick just a year prior. Given that he was coming off of major elbow surgery, the Giants were cautious with his workload.

Crawford tallied a 3.23 ERA with 32 strikeouts against 10 walks in 19 inning split between two levels including High-A. He did not complete more than two innings in any one outing and that was by design.

In his brief time last season, the southpaw pitcher's fastball-slider combination proved to be too much for hitters in the lower minors. This was true even if he was still raw in some respects. His fastball comfortably sits in the high 90's and he pairs this with a sweeping slider. Both pitches rate as above-average offerings.

Crawford still needs to add a third pitch to his arsenal and show some improvement in his control. He could have continued working on these in the lower minors, but his current arsenal would have quickly proved to be too much for less advanced hitters.

Given this, an assignment to Double-A makes sense. And, the Giants wasted no time in getting Crawford into a game. He pitched on Tuesday for the Richmond Flying Squirrels where he registered one strikeout and one walk in one scoreless inning.

The Giants hope that he can continue to get stretched out as a starter. With him starting the year in Double-A, it does signal the organization's confidence in his ability to compete despite limited pro action. It is also a sign that he is just a couple steps away from big league action.