Reggie Crawford

‘Time will tell' if Giants prospect Crawford is next Ohtani

Reggie Crawford spoke with NBC Sports Bay Area's Carlos Ramirez about whether or not his two-way talent can translate to the big league level.

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When the Giants selected Reggie Crawford at No. 30 overall in the 2022 MLB Draft, the first-round pick instantly became one of the team’s most interesting prospects.

That intrigue is sparked by Crawford’s two-way prowess on the mound and at the plate -- an ability synonymous with Los Angeles Angels phenom Shohei Ohtani these days.

With Giants fans hungry for a star, some are tossing their offseason aspirations in the direction of impending free agent Ohtani. But could MLB’s next two-way star be in San Francisco’s farm system?

“I guess time will tell, you know?” Crawford told NBC Sports Bay Area’s Carlos Ramirez after the San Jose Giants’ 10-1 win over the Fresno Grizzlies at Excite Ballpark on June 1.

The 22-year-old made his Single-A debut with Low-A San Jose on May 24, 21 months after undergoing Tommy John surgery on his left throwing elbow in October 2021. Crawford has allowed five earned runs over nine innings pitched for the San Jose Giants so far and is 4 for 16 in nine games at DH, with two doubles and one home run.

As a two-way prospect, his day-to-day looks a little different than that of his teammates. Crawford typically practices with both the pitchers and the position players, and he told Ramirez that so far, no day really looks the same.

Everything comes down to which games he’s the starting pitcher, how his body feels and what his coaches want. 

“I’ll throw with the pitchers, take my time throwing, and then will hop in with the position guys, get groundballs at first, take some swings,” Crawford told Ramirez. “So what it looks like as far as days, it just differs, you know? And also, I’ve only been here for a week, so that also comes into play, too.”

The San Jose Giants’ coaching staff has taken care to manage Crawford’s workload, he added, making sure he isn’t straining his body by competing both on the hill and in the box. His goal for the season is just to stay healthy, and he believes the rest will work itself out.

And, perhaps, his two-way talent will translate to the big league level.

“I mean, I know what I do day to day,” Crawford told Ramirez. “I know that I’m putting myself in the best position to make that happen. If it happens, it happens. If it doesn’t, it doesn’t. But the peace of mind for me is I have the ability to attempt it.

“That’s the big thing for me because, looking back, if it was one of those scenarios where, say, I put the bat down, I wouldn’t be able to live with myself.”

But for now, Crawford is taking things day by day as he gets back into the swing of things post-surgery. He’s also similar to Ohtani in that they both underwent Tommy John surgery on their throwing arms, and the young prospect believes there’s plenty he could learn from the Japanese star when it comes to preparation.

“I need to try to talk to him to see what he does and how they plan it,” Crawford told Ramirez. “I’ll have to figure out how I can do that, but that’s probably going to be in the cards, hopefully soon, to get in contact with him to pick his brain and figure out from the best how to make it work.”

Maybe they could chat one day as teammates in the Orange and Black. However unlikely that might seem, Crawford knows the best for himself is yet to come.

“I feel like there’s still a lot of growth to be had, which is the most exciting part for myself,” Crawford said.

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