Pittsburgh Pirates Trade Recap: Josh Bell to the Washington Nationals

MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA - APRIL 25: Wil Crowe #29 of the Pittsburgh Pirates delivers a pitch against the Minnesota Twins during the first inning of the game at Target Field on April 25, 2021 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA - APRIL 25: Wil Crowe #29 of the Pittsburgh Pirates delivers a pitch against the Minnesota Twins during the first inning of the game at Target Field on April 25, 2021 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) /
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Pittsburgh Pirates
CHICAGO, ILLINOIS – APRIL 03: Wil Crowe #29 of the Pittsburgh Pirates pitches against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field on April 03, 2021 in Chicago, Illinois. The Cubs defeated the Pirates 5-1. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /

The Return

The headliner of the deal was Eddy Yean. Yean was one of the Nationals’ top pitching prospects, ending 2020 as the organization’s 7th best prospect. He did solid in 2019, posting a 3.82 ERA, 3.85 FIP, and 1.19 WHIP at Rookie-Ball. Plus he had a 24.7% strikeout rate, 8.2% walk rate, and .74 HR/9. He was eventually promoted to Low-A but only pitched 11 innings. Yean came over with three offerings: a four-seam fastball, slider, and change-up. All of his offerings are projected at above average. He had some questions about his command, but the raw ability and stuff are there. Yean was quite young as the 2021 season would be his age-20 season. Yean had a bit of risk, but there was also a high-ceiling within the young right-hander.

The other player was Wil Crowe. Ranked as the Nats’ 4th best prospect at the time, Crowe was more of a complementary piece to the deal. Crowe had shown some promise in the season prior. He started the year at Double-A where he pitched to the tune of a 3.87 ERA, but 3.15 FIP, 3.04 xFIP, and 1.12 WHIP. His 23.2% strikeout rate isn’t going to blow anyone away, but he had a strong 5.7% walk rate and a healthy 0.76 HR/9.

Eventually, Crowe was promoted to Triple-A where he struggled. He saw his numbers inflate to a 6.17 ERA, 1.70 WHIP, and 5.46 FIP. His already so-so strikeout rate fell further to 16.4%, and his walk rate shot up to 10.4%. While his HR/9 was still a usable 1.17, it was still a noticeable uptick from his previous level. Crowe got a very short 8.1 inning taste of the major leagues and struggled. Still, he projected as a solid #4 type pitcher. Nothing to write home about, but a guy who could provide a handful of innings each year.

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