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First round pick Reggie Crawford makes first impression with Giants

Sam Hustis |

There were two lockers with Crawford name plates in the Giants’ clubhouse on Wednesday: one for the 35-year-old veteran fresh off a walkoff, another for the 21-year-old prospect. 

Reggie Crawford, the Giants’ first-round pick from 2022, introduced himself to San Francisco’s big-leaguers and acclimated himself with Oracle Park. He’d been here a few years ago for a high school showcase, but this is different. 

Crawford got to meet Joc Pederson, Logan Webb, Scott Harris and Gabe Kapler. His family flew in from Pennsylvania to hang out on the field, with his sister taking her first ever flight. He took on-field batting practice before a MLB game. 

Being around big-leaguers is also more of a learning experience. 

“Just watching, you can take a lot from watching how these guys go about their business, how they handle themselves,” Crawford told reporters in the Giants’ dugout. “How they go about BP and stuff like that.” 

Crawford, who signed for about $2.3 million — slightly below slot value for the 30th pick — is both a left-handed first baseman and left-handed pitcher. The Lansdale, Pennsylvania native’s rare skill set gives him a chance to potentially end an organizational drafting drought. 

“I understand it’s a unique situation,” Crawford said. “But I’m just trying to maximize both sides as much as possible.” 

For an organization that values versatility, a player who can contribute both as a hitter and reliever while taking up one roster spot would be a dream. 

Giants manager Gabe Kapler said he thinks there will probably be more two-way players in the future. Angels superstar Shohei Ohtani has shown what’s possible at the big-league level. 

“I think we’re going to see more of that in the next five or 10 years,” Kapler said. “I don’t think it’s going to be, like, three or four guys on every roster that can do it. It takes a tremendous athlete, a high level of confidence, the ability to recover, the ability to balance your body and an amazing amount of talent and skill. Those things don’t grow on trees, and they don’t grow on trees in aggregate. I think we’re going to see a trend in that direction, but it’s going to be a marginal trend.” 

But it could be quite a while before Crawford returns to Oracle Park. He’s been able to legally buy a beer for 256 days and just recently made his professional debut — for the Arizona Complex League Giants. 

The biggest reason Crawford fell to the Giants at the end of the first round is because he underwent Tommy John surgery in 2021 and didn’t play in 2022 at University of Connecticut. He resumed throwing Monday after a brief pause and his bullpen progression includes throwing off a mound at 50% capacity in roughly a month, he said. 

The injury history creates uncertainty. Even without it, the Giants know as well as anyone that even first-round picks aren’t guarantees. Since Buster Posey, only Joe Panik (2011) and Joey Bart (2018) have made a significant impact for the Giants after being drafted in the first round. 

In the past 10 years, the Giants have used their first round picks on Chris Stratton, Christian Arroyo, Tyler Beede, Phil Bickford, Chris Shaw, Heliot Ramos, Hunter Bishop, Patrick Bailey, Will Bednar and Bart. The franchise that built its championship teams by drafting Posey, Brandon Crawford, Brandon Belt, Tim Lincecum, Madison Bumgarner and others has had the fewest draftees reach the majors since 2015 of any big-league club. 

Yet Crawford appears to have the tools to break that trend. At 6-foot-4, 235 pounds, he’s built like a tight end. You have to be a different kind of athlete to hit .295 in a college season and also throw a 100-mph fastball. 

“Think about what that might look like: a really good hitter who could also cover a couple innings in relief, and actually be a core member of your bullpen,” Kapler said. “Something like that is a really exciting concept.” 

Giants players crowded the batting cage to watch him take batting practice in which he blasted balls into Triples Alley, center field and over the right-field bricks. Sources raved about Crawford’s makeup. In a brief chat with local reporters, he showed a light, measured personality. He smiled through answers and maintained eye contact. 

“I can’t even really put it into words,” Crawford told reporters in the Giants’ dugout. “It’s really cool. Coming in, I didn’t know what to expect, I didn’t know how they were going to do it. But everything’s going perfect. Talking to the guys, meeting all the staff. It’s a really cool experience, something I’m going to remember forever.”

  • The Giants reinstated reliever Zack Littell from the injured list and optioned Luis González to Triple-A. González, despite a 1-for-30 slump and some hiccups on the base paths, will likely be back with SF when rosters expand to 28 on Sept. 1. San Francisco now has 13 hitters and 13 pitchers — eight of whom are in the bullpen.
  • Neither Mike Yastrzemski nor Thairo Estrada are in the starting lineup against Zach Davies and the Diamondbacks Wednesday, but neither are injured. Gabe Kapler said they both could play the next four games, including Thursday’s day game, so SF is getting them an off-day.
  • Without González, the Giants don’t have a designated position-player pitcher. Former Giant Darin Ruf pitched two scoreless innings for the Mets this week in a blowout. J.D. Davis pitched at Cal State Fullerton and Austin Wynns could be another option.

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