Let’s dive into reasons why the Pittsburgh Pirates may have been interested in adding pticher Wil Crowe in the recently completed Josh Bell trade
Last Thursday the Pittsburgh Pirates gave all of MLB a Christmas Eve surprise when they traded Josh Bell to the Washington Nationals. In return, the Pirates received right-handed pitchers Eddy Yean and Wil Crowe.
While Yean is a 19-year-old prospect and the main piece in the trade, Crowe could make an immediate impact for the Pittsburgh Pirates. He started three games for the Nats in 2020 and Ben Cherington has already said he’ll compete for a spot in the Pirate starting rotation in 2021.
So, what is it that may have made the Pittsburgh Pirates interested in Crowe? Why did Cherington want to add him in the Bell trade? We will dissect that today.
First and foremost is Crowe’s ability to step right into the team’s starting rotation. All signs point toward Joe Msugrove being traded. Hell, by the time you read this he may have already been traded. Steven Brault has also been mentioned in trade rumors this offseason.
If the Pirates are to trade either Musgrove or Brualt, let alone both, they would need rotation help in 2021. The need for rotation help goes without mentioning the injury question marks that surround Jameson Taillon entering 2021, as well as it not being known if the like JT Brubaker more as a starting pitcher or relief pitcher.
Another reason the Pirates were likely interested in Crowe is his curveball. One thing we have learned about new Pirate pitching coach Oscar Marin in his fist calendar year on the job is his love for the curveball, and Crowe’s could be a plus pitch.
FanGraphs rates Crowe’s curveball as having a future value of 50. In his limited MLB action last season the pitch had a spin rate of 2588. This is an above MLB average spin rate for a curveball.
Crowe also appears to have the potential to have a plus slider. FanGraphs gives the pitch a FV of 50, and it had a spin rate of 2633 in his limited MLB action in 2020. Like his curveball, his slider carried an above average spin rate.
The high spin rates on these pitches were not new, either. Crowe’s curveball and slider appeared to have plus potential throughout the minors, hence the high FV grades that the pitches have from FanGraphs.
While Crowe may not have moved the needle much for Pirate fans, there are reasons why the Pirates were interested in him. Crowe may never be a top of the rotation anchor, but he has more than enough tools needed to be a quality MLB starting pitcher.