Wil Crowe gave up two hits (one a home run) and one earned run in two innings of work in his 2020 Grapefruit League debut on Monday, in what ended up a 2-1 loss to the New York Mets.
Washington’s 2017 2nd Round pick, who pitched at Double-A Harrisburg and Triple-A Fresno in 2019, gave up a solo shot by former Nationals’ catcher Wilson Ramos in the first at bat of his second inning of work, then recovered to get three straight ground ball outs in his final frame on the mound in West Palm Beach, FL’s FITTEAM Ballpark of the Palm Beaches.
Crowe, 25, talked afterwards about staying focused on the mound after giving up the blast by the one-time Nats’ backstop, when asked how he moved past it, and got the last three batters out.
“Knowing that it’s not over,” Crowe said. “That was the first guy of the inning, still trying to get out of that inning, and they told me I was going two, went out for the second, first guy does that, you just kind of flush it, you know, anything in the past you can’t change, so just after that next guy and get him and then keep rolling, one-by-one.”
The No. 4 ranked prospect in the organization on MLB Pipeline’s Top 30, Crowe finished his third professional season with a 3.87 ERA, 3.15 FIP, 2.08 BB/9, and 8.40 K/9 in 16 starts and 95 1⁄3 IP at Double-A Harrisburg, then struggled at Triple-A Fresno, putting up a 6.17 ERA, a 5.64 FIP, 4.33 BB/9, and 6.83 K/9 in 54 IP for the Nationals’ top minor league affiliate.
Going into his second Grapefruit League appearance, and first start, the right-hander said he knew he had to quickly get over the fact that he was facing major leaguers, players he’s seen before on TV, but in some cases never faced in person.
“You’ve got to look at them as if they were just anybody else,” Crowe explained. “You can’t see them as — you’ve got to see them as anyone up there. You go after them, throw what you’ve got, throw your pitches, do your thing, and go get outs. The big thing is just believing in what you’ve got, you put in the work all offseason, and trusting in what you’ve done, and trusting in the process that got you here, that’s all you can do and then go out there and perform.”
As for his approach this Spring, Crowe, who’d have to be considered a long shot to make it onto the Opening Day roster with the stacked starting staff the Nationals have assembled, said it’s about staying focused on what he can control and showing the organization that he can compete at this level.
“If you go about your business every day and you do what you’ve got to do,” Crowe said, “it will all work itself out, whether it’s out of Spring Training or throughout the middle of the year, whatever it is, you know, so I’m here to show them I’m ready and available, and the moment’s not too big, and I’m ready for that, so just let it all play out, it’s going to play out eventually, and just keeping going one day at a time and just keep going.”
His assessment of his first outing of the Spring overall, including the two hits (the home run by Ramos and a double by Jeff McNeil in the first at bat of the opening frame)?
“I was happy with it,” Crowe said, as quoted by MLB.com’s Jessica Camerato.
“Tip my hat to those guys — they put two good swings on two good pitches. The other guys, I thought I made my pitches and hit my spots and did everything I wanted to today.”