"D. Crews! D. Crews! D. Crews!"
It only took two games for LSU freshman outfielder Dylan Crews to become a popular favorite with the student section out in the right field bleachers. After coming through with clutch hits against Air Force and Louisiana Tech during opening weekend, the right fielder is earning himself quite a few chants from his fellow students.
Crews admitted to the media on Thursday that the chanting and the fans has been one area that he's had to really adjust to through his first four games as a college baseball player. Fans are cheering his name and former players like Alex Bregman are sending texts to coach Paul Mainieri about what potential Crews possesses.
Though he grew up in Florida, Crews' lifelong dream was to play in front of the Tigers' fans. A big reason why is the atmosphere created in Alex Box Stadium each and every weekend.
"It was the fanbase and how much these people really love LSU. There were other schools where they'd come to games but you really couldn't feel the energy and the atmosphere," Crews said. "When I stepped foot on campus, you could feel the energy. This is what I dreamed and I'm going to enjoy every second of it."
The early results are extremely impressive as Crews is batting .444 with two homeruns and three RBI, while drawing double the amount of walks (4) than strikeouts (2). Those numbers point to an already extremely poised player behind the plate and is why Mainieri counts his lucky stars everyday that Crews wound up in college instead of straight to the majors.
"I'm not surprised at all, we scouted him thoroughly throughout his high school career," Mainieri said. "Dylan's the total package. He's not only got talent as a player but he's got the greatest attitude, he's a competitor, he's a team oriented guy, very humble but self confident. He's got all of the tools and he's a can't miss prospect."
It's not just the numbers, that have been exquisite to this point, but it's how he's getting the numbers. Every batter goes through hot and cold streaks throughout a season and there's no doubt that Crews will have some games he won't like.
But what makes him such a tantalizing hitter is his approach and the power he generates through his hips. Even when he's been thrown out this season, the ball is exiting off the bat at absurd 100 mph speeds.
"I just try to put the barrel on the ball but through workouts, through all of the exercises we do I really just try and focus on my core and my legs because that's where the power comes from," Crews said. "Try to focus on having a good base, put the barrel on the ball and letting the baseball gods do what they want with it."
Crews has begun the season as the leadoff hitter and is proving to be extremely comfortable in that spot. When he's batting leadoff and is on the kind of hot streak he currently is, there's no pitcher in the country he believes can get him out.
The question that's surfaced is that because he's been so dominant at leadoff and has the power and ability to drive in runs, why not move him further down the lineup to the three or four hole? LSU's offense has exploded for 27 runs on 28 hits over its last two contests.
"I'm getting on, I'm getting hits," Crews said. "If I move down, my appraoch doesn't change at all. I'm still the same kid and still the same hitter. I'm going to do whatever I can to help this team. If that's in the leadoff spot or five hole, I'm going to do what I can to produce runs and produce hits."
Being able to bring a talented player like Crews to Baton Rouge, it's very likely that LSU will only get three years with him as a staple for this offense. Though the sample size is small, having those game changing kind of offensive talents in the mold of a Crews or Bregman, the natural expectation is Omaha or bust.
It's been four years since the Tigers made the trip to the College World Series and if the Tigers hope to return in 2021, Crews will need to be a big reason why.
"This is something I've wanted to do my whole life, coming to LSU and playing in front of these fans," Crews said. "I'm excited for this year and the future."
Photo courtesy of LSUsports.