Why 1 SF Giants prospect could be the breakout player to watch in spring training

One of the most exciting prospects in the SF Giants system, two-way prospect Reggie Crawford, was extended an invite to Spring Training.
Arizona Diamondbacks v San Francisco Giants
Arizona Diamondbacks v San Francisco Giants / Lachlan Cunningham/GettyImages

The SF Giants announced the 25 players they extended non-roster invitations to for Spring Training. Arguably the most intriguing name among the group is exciting two-way prospect Reggie Crawford.

Why 1 SF Giants prospect could be the breakout player to watch in spring training

Crawford was selected by the Giants in the first round of the 2022 MLB Draft. This was after Crawford underwent Tommy John surgery during his final year of collegiate ball at the University of Connecticut.

Last season with the San Jose Giants, Crawford slashed .250/278/.563 with 1 home run and 5 RBI in 18 plate appearances. In the Arizona Fall League, he hit .138/.282/.276 with 2 home runs and 8 RBI in 71 plate appearances. He hits for a lot of power and that will be his carrying tool if he climbs through the minors as a position power, but his overall approach needs to be refined.

While those numbers may not fly off the page, but Crawford is seen as a better pitcher than as a hitter. Last season across A-ball and High A-ball, Crawford recorded an ERA of 2.84 in 19 innings pitched across 13 games started. He recorded 32 strikeouts against 10 walks in those 19 innings. The Giants were very cautious with his workload last year given that he was returning from major arm surgery.

On the mound, the lefty prospect is an imposing presence given his 6-foot-4, 235-pound frame. He is an athlete. Despite a limited sample, Crawford overwhelmed hitters in the low minors with a high 90's fastball with a wipeout slider. He is working on a changeup, but the fastball and slider are both above-average pitches currently. If his command shows improvement, he could move quickly up the minor league ladder.

Crawford is still definitely a raw prospect, but he has arguably the highest upside of any Giants prospect in the organization. Crawford has said that he would prefer to keep being a two-way player, but this season could go a long way in determining whether he will focus on either hitting or pitching going forward.

The Giants invited many of their top pitching prospects to Scottsdale beyond Crawford, including Carson Whisenhunt, Mason Black, and Hayden Birdsong. It seems that they may be hoping that some of these pitchers can become a key part of their rotation in the future. If everything goes right, perhaps they can get to a point where they have a mostly homegrown rotation like they did in the days of Lincecum, Cain, and Bumgarner.

There is a long way to go before that is a reality, but it will be fun to see an exciting prospect like Crawford in Spring Training even if it will likely be in a limited capacity. While Crawford is very light on game experience, this could be a good opportunity for him to make some noise.