Dodgers Prospect Watch: Leo Crawford
Name: Leo Crawford.
Vitals: Pitcher, 6' 0", 180, age 23, bats left, throws left. From Puerto Cabezas, Nicaragua.
How acquired: Signed by Dodgers as an international free agent in 2014.
Highest level of play: A third of an inning at the AAA-Oklahoma City Dodgers in 2018.
Baseball America scouting report: None.
Comment: Leo Crawford is to be forgiven for thinking of himself as the Rodney Dangerfield of the Dodgers' organization. Because he just can't get any respect. Neither Baseball America nor MLB.com has a syllable of a scouting report about him on their respective websites currently. And he's limited to a single-line mention on page 227 of the Dodgers 2020 media guide, with less information than I've provided above. And that's a shame.
There are a handful of prospects who I keep my eye on each year, players who jump out at me as increasingly compelling as the minor league season progresses. Crawford was one of those guys in 2019.
I caught some of his outings on MILB.tv (which, by the way, is a wonderful thing). I'd watch as seemingly every single start resulted in five, six and seven innings, with a run or so across, frequently with low walk totals and a bunch of strikeouts. In five outings for the High-A Rancho Cucamonga Quakes from April 29 through May 19, for example, the left-handed Crawford allowed two earned runs on 19 hits, one walk and 23 strikeouts over 21 2/3 innings. That's good for a 0.88 ERA and a 0.923 WHIP.
Following a three-earned-in-three-frames performance on May 26, Crawford finished the season (with included a promotion to AA-Tulsa Drillers to begin the month of August) with 15 straight starts with three or fewer earned allowed. There was a 6 2/3 scoreless outing with no walks and eight strikeouts and an additional nine scoreless outings, primarily in the five to seven-inning range, and a three-hit, no-walk, 10-strikeout shutout at Lake Elsinore on July 9. You don't see a lot of those in the minor leagues. Or in the majors, for that matter.
Crawford's 2019 stats shake out this way: 7-4, 2.81, 21 starts, 121 2/3, 134 strikeouts and a 1.285 WHIP. His five-season minor league career numbers are these: 33-26, 3.22, 88 starts, 503 innings, 462 strikeouts and a 1.207 WHIP.
So yeah, I was paying attention, and I was looking forward to seeing Crawford develop further in 2020. He's not going to get anywhere close to the innings total the club would like this year, if he takes the mound at all. If there is a minor league season at all. And that's a shame. Because this is a really impressive young left-hander we're talking about here.
And remember, glove conquers all.
Howard Cole has been writing about baseball on the internet since Y2K. Follow him on Twitter.