Trevor Crowe Ready for the Show?
The Tribe likes Trevor Crowe's athleticism which is why they made him a first round pick in 2005. He was the 14th overall pick in the First-Year Player Draft. The Tribe was very excited with his potential. He is the only in-house property seen as a legitimate threat to bump All-Star Grady Sizemore from the leadoff spot. He is a 6'0", 200-pound outfielder; a switch hitter that throws right-handed. His father, David Crowe, was a professional golfer. Trevor was a nationally ranked racquetball player. He played for the 1998 Junior National Racquetball Team.
Trevor was selected in the 20th round of the 2002 Draft by Oakland right out of Westview High School in Portland, OR, but was not signed. He dramatically improved his status while spending three outstanding years at the University of Arizona.
Mark Shapiro said. "We think he has the ability and tools to project as a prototypical leadoff hitter—a guy that runs the bases aggressively and well."
“If you're on the other team, this guy plays with an edge, and you probably don't like him very much,” Shapiro said, “but if he's on your team, you love him.”
In 2006, shortly before the end of the Double-A Akron season, looking to take advantage of Trevor's athleticism, the Indians tried him at Second base. Crowe hadn't played in the infield since high school. This was his shot to accelerate his rise to the Majors, but preoccupied by the switch, he began to labor at the plate.
It was definitely a struggle for me," the twenty-three year-old Crowe admitted. "I was uncomfortable, and the game sped up on me a bit. I had a very hard time trying to stay in the moment. You're going to struggle as a professional athlete, but the main thing is to stay in the moment, be prepared and do the best you can.”
After the brief experiment failed he said, "Knowing I'm solely going to be an outfielder takes a lot of stress out of my preparation," he said. "I know how to be successful in the outfield, I know how to be successful on the base paths and I know how to be successful at the plate. For me, it's just about refining my routine and doing what I do every day.”
Without the defensive distraction, Crowe hit .349 with six doubles, two triples, two steals and twelve runs in the Eastern League playoffs. Such production is one reason the Indians are so enamored with Crowe. He understands the high expectations surrounding him and is willing to rise to the challenges.
He shows a maturity level that will only help him as he rises within the organization. He understands that success is not guaranteed and that he cannot count on his athleticism to carry the day, He clearly expressed this mindset while still in Class A.
He recognized that at each new level, “Their breaking pitches are a little sharper, they've got a little better command of their fastball and they know how to attack a hitter better.”
He also said, “Since the time I was 10 years old, I've always said that if you want to be a Major League baseball player, you have to beat out a Major Leaguer, ... that's the way it works in this organization. If you're not confident enough to beat out the other Minor League guys, you'll never fulfill your potential in the Major Leagues."
Trevor Thornton Crowe now enters his fifth professional season. He is 25. The Indians won't rush the timetable with Crowe. Trevor has been a streaky hitter. He has gone hot and cold much of his minor league career.
He is a patient hitter with a very advanced bat, but he is prone to falling into bad habits for extended periods. Last year was a powerful growing year; he bought into the “Indians Process.” which should help him to be more consistent. One caveat is that he appears to be physically fragile. He has lost significant time to injury every season.
Crowe has a real shot at the Left field job, but David Dellucci by virtue of his contract should open the season in Left Field, unless Dellucci really stinks it up in spring training. Dellucci has four million dollars guaranteed to him this season, but he has no guarantee to remain on the Indians roster. Manager Eric Wedge even stopped short of saying Dellucci's spot on the Opening Day roster is assured.
The Indians aren't sure what to expect from Dellucci. His time with the Tribe has been a big disappointment. Given their general payroll constraints, it would be a surprise if the Indians decided to let four million dollars walk out the door without at least giving Dellucci a chance.
There will probably not be too much weight put on Crowe's spring, because of his youth and streakiness. While Crowe is in a crowded outfield mix with Matt LaPorta and Michael Brantley, the latter two acquired in the CC Sabathia trade are not expected to remain with big league club. Once Spring training camp breaks they will most likely be headed to Columbus. Wedge and the coaches are previewing their skills, while they assimilate into the close-knit Tribe culture.
Crowe's star is bright but still twinkling. If he can produce a steady stream of light, you can expect Dellucci's star to be eclipsed by Crowe's. I predict Dellucci is going to disappear into a black hole by June. That is when Crowe enters the Show, stage-left.
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