Pittsburgh Pirates: Way Too Early Look at Dylan Crews v. Chase Dollander
By Noah Wright
The MLB draft is still over a half-year away, but with the Pittsburgh Pirates owning the no. 1 pick, who is the best prospect right now between Chase Dollander and Dylan Crews?
There is a pretty big debate in amateur baseball right now: who is the better draft prospect? Dylan Crews or Chase Dollander? Some believe that this is the best hitter and pitcher we've seen in the draft in a long, long time. This is something Pittsburgh Pirates fans should be keeping an eye on as the team lucked into the #1 overall pick in next year's draft. While this is a way-too-early look at the draft, let's take a dive into this debate between Crews and Dollander.
Crews has been an insane hitter for LSU. In 125 games/594 plate appearances, Crews is a .356/.458/.677 batter. He has crushed 40 home runs with an isolated slugging percentage well over three hundred at .321. On top of that, he's swiped 17 bases in 22 total attempts. To go with his otherworldly offense, he's provided them with quality defense in center field.
Crews is a five-tool prospect. He has a ton of power, only has struck out at a 16.8% rate with a 13.6% walk rate, has decent speed, can field his position well, and has a powerful arm. His most lacking tool is his defense, but he still projects to be a solid center fielder. If worse comes to worst, he can move to right field, where he'll still play exceptionally well.
On the other hand, you have Tennessee's Chase Dollander. Like Crews, Dollander pieced together an outstanding 2022 campaign. In 79 innings, Dollander worked to a 2.39 ERA and 0.79 WHIP. The right-hander only allowed seven home runs with a whopping 35.3% strikeout rate. That's an impressive K%, but his walk rate sat at an astounding 4.2% rate. His impressive ability to prevent walks and strikeout batters led to an 8.31 K:BB ratio.
Dollander works in the mid-to-upper-90s and approaches triple digits. Not only does he throw hard, but he also throws with a high spin rate. His slider also is an elite offering, while his changeup projects to be above average. His worst offering is his curveball, but that even projects to be a very usable offering. With his excellent command, there's a lot to like about Dollander.
If the draft were tomorrow, Crews would have to be the pick. There's less risk with a position player, especially one who does not strike out, draws walks, and hits for power. The only downside is that Crews might have to move to an outfield corner. But if the Pittsburgh Pirates decided to go with Dollander, there would be little disagreement or argument.