Washington Nationals: Dylan Crews Deserves A Promotion

After being selected second overall in this year's MLB Draft, the Golden Spikes winner is taking the Minor Leagues by storm in Single A. When will Dylan Crews finally be promoted by the Nationals?

Jul 22, 2023; Washington, District of Columbia, USA; Washington Nationals first round draft pick
Jul 22, 2023; Washington, District of Columbia, USA; Washington Nationals first round draft pick / Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
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I will keep this brief as I think anyone who has been following along, since August 6th in particular, will agree with me.

Plain and simple, Dylan Crews is very good at baseball and possibly defies the general idea of a typical prospect timeline.

After Crews made his debut for Single A Fredericksburg on August 5, no one in ALL OF MINOR LEAGUE BASEBALL has more RBIs than the 24 Crews has collected in his 14 games. If that isn't impressive enough, Crews is slashing .383/.449/.683 which is good for a 1.132 OPS with 18 runs, 3 doubles and 5 home runs. While he was hitless in his Single A debut, Crews has reached base in the 12 of 13 games since, which is something he was quite good at in college and seems to be continuing early on into his professional career. He earned player of the week honors in his first full week at Fredericksburg.

Crews has also adjusted well defensively. There may have been some questions early on about whether or not he could stick in Centerfield, but plays like this will quickly put those concerns to rest.

When will Dylan Crews get promoted?

Crews is still some time away from being considered ready for the Major Leagues, but it is more than safe to say that Single A is below his playing level and he deserves more of a challenge. Don't get me wrong, I was all for the Nationals assigning him to Fredericksburg just to make the adjustment easier, but I think we are past that point now and can see Crews is ready for whatever is next. Having played his college ball in the SEC and at LSU of all schools, Crews was better equipped to make the adjustment to the Minor Leagues than perhaps a prep bat or a college bat at a smaller school.

James Wood was a prep bat and only spent 21 games at Single A Fredericksburg following the trade from San Diego to DC. Wood did play 50 games in Single A in the Padres system, but if you equate that to college experience, Crews should be close to a promotion himself based on Wood's timeline, and Crews is outperforming the strong numbers Wood produced in Single A.

Wood was promoted from Single A Fredericksburg to High A Wilmington, where he spent 42 games prior to his subsequent promotion to AA Harrisburg. My instinct tells me the Nationals will do the same with Crews and let him prove himself in High A for the remainder of the season. If he does well, they can assign him to AA out of camp next spring.

It is worth noting that High A Wilmington is a notoriously difficult place to hit as it is regarded as one of the more pitcher-friendly parks in the Minor Leagues. There has been some discourse to have Crews skip High A and go straight to AA so as not to set him back with potential struggles at Wilmington. If this is the idea, I think the Nationals would have Crews finish the year in Fredericksburg and then assign him to AA next year so both he and James Wood, who would likely be assigned to AAA Rochester, could play Centerfield until one inevitably makes a switch to a corner spot. I think Wood, while extremely athletic and capable of playing center, makes more sense in Right Field long-term, similar to Aaron Judge.

I still think the Nationals will send Dylan Crews to High A at some point as they did with James Wood. Wood performed well in High A and got a promotion to AA in about a month and a half. If Crews gets promoted soon, he will spend about two and a half weeks in Wilmington as their season ends on September 10th. That sounds like a great trial period to me.