Top SF Giants lefty pitching prospect dazzles in 2024 debut with Richmond

The uber-talented 2022 first-rounder takes on the mound for the first time as a full-time pitcher
Don't let that killer smile fool you, this dude throws absolute GAS
Don't let that killer smile fool you, this dude throws absolute GAS / Zac BonDurant/San Francisco Giants/GettyImages

In the 2022 MLB Draft, the SF Giants are picking last in every round as a result of them winning 107 games in their magical 2021 season. Even though the Giants suffered from success, they swung for the fences and nabbed UConn two-way player Reggie Crawford with their first-round pick. Had Crawford stayed healthy, he would have been in contention for the number one overall pick but he underwent Tommy John surgery.

Top SF Giants lefty pitching prospect dazzles in 2024 debut with Richmond

Crawford had to slow down his rehab last year due to a bout of mononucleosis but eventually made his professional debut in late May of 2023 in San Jose. The Giants went easy with him workload-wise as he spent time both on the mound and as a DH to keep him fresh. He then spent time in the Arizona Fall League as a hitter but the Giants have made their decision to stick Crawford on the mound in the long-term moving forward.

Just like in 2023, Crawford's 2024 debut was delayed a bit after sustaining a lat strain in Spring Training. However, he recovered quickly and was added to the Richmond roster on Tuesday where he made his Double-A debut against the Harrisburg Senators. Also just like last year, the Giants were cautious with Reggie's workload as he only pitched one inning. That one inning though was a blast.

The left-hander was on it from the get-go as his first pitch thrown in 2024 was a 96 mph fastball taken for a ball against left fielder Andrew Pinckney. He went on to battle Crawford in a six-pitch at-bat that ended on a lineout to center fielder Grant McCray. Right fielder Robert Hassell III also hit a flyball to McCray to get the second out of the first inning. After surrendering a four-pitch walk to top-ten prospect in all of baseball Dylan Crews, Crawford struck out a rehabbing Stone Garrett on a 98 mph reach-back fastball to end his outing. It was a tight ballgame where it came down to the ninth inning as Crews eventually knocked in the game-winning run for the Senators' walk-off win.

If there was any signs of an injury or ailment, Crawford did not show on the mound it as he looked as physically menacing as ever. The fastball has some serious zip but Harrisburg hitters seemed to have a beat on it as he struggled to get swing throughs early in the at-bats. He had little to no feel with his secondary pitches as he got under one curveball and also yanked a couple of changeups. Those pitches grade out as solid or better at their best.

Overall, Reggie has a solid first rodeo of Double-A ball to build upon. The zip on the heater is there and is plain overpowering when he is filling the strike zone with it. If his secondaries continue to develop, Crawford has a great chance to start. But don't expect a massive jump in his workload as he's only thrown a grand total of 36.1 innings throughout his both college and pro career per Baseball Reference. This will be a multi-year process, a process where Crawford will most likely make it to the big leagues as a reliever and have his workload gradually increase to a point where accumulating over a century mark of innings in one full season is a certainty.