In 2023, Dylan Crews, 21, put up a .426/.567/.713 line with 16 doubles, two triples, 18 home runs, 71 walks, and just 46 Ks in 71 games played for the National Champion LSU Tigers. In his third season at the school, Crews, “was the winner of the 2023 Golden Spikes Award,” he, “was named the 2023 Southeastern Conference (SEC) Player of the Year for the second consecutive season – becoming the first player to win the award in back-to-back seasons — and was a member of the SEC All-Defensive Team two years in a row (2022-23),” as his new ballclub, the Washington Nationals noted after selecting the outfielder with the No. 2 overall pick in the 2023 MLB Draft.
Crews, as MLB Pipeline’s scouts noted in their pre-draft write-up on the player they ranked second overall, “... generated some first-round buzz as a Florida high schooler in 2020 but ultimately withdrew from the Draft and has had a decorated career at Louisiana State.” He told reporters last night, after he was picked behind only LSU teammate Paul Skenes, who went No. 1 overall to Pittsburgh Pirates, the decision to go to college is the best one he’s made to this point in his life.
“Looking back it was the best decision I’ve ever made in my life for sure,” Crews said on a Zoom call with D.C. press corps (and some Louisiana-based writers).
“There was a lot of gamble in that [decision],” he said. “It was a hard decision as an 18-year-old, and yeah, looking back it was the best decision I’ve ever made, and I’d encourage kids to do that and trust their guts for sure.”
Going to college gave the Nationals three more years to scout Crews as he played at the highest level of the collegiate game.
“He’s always been a guy that we’ve watched since he was in high school, we have a really good history with him,” Nats’ GM Mike Rizzo said on his own Zoom call with reporters after the Nationals made their top pick.
“He’s been a terrific, consistent player throughout his career, and he’s the type of guy that we want here in Washington. He’s a terrific person. He’s got great character. He’s very competitive. He’s a winner, and he’s got a great skill set, and I think he’s a guy that’s going to fit right in here and be one of the leaders of the core group of guys who can be the next [group] of [champions] that we have here, and we couldn’t be happier that he’s going to be joining the Nationals.”
“Dylan has been pretty consistent,” Assistant GM and VP of Scouting Ops Kris Kline said at the end of Day 1 of the Draft. Crews put up a combined .380/.498/.689 line in a total of 96 games and 938 plate appearances in three years as a Tiger.
“He’s been the guy there [at LSU]. He was a good player in high school, he took himself out of the draft, and [he] was determined to go to LSU, and bet on himself, and it worked out well for him.”
“Crews led the SEC and ranked among NCAA Division I hitters in runs scored (1st, 100),” his new club highlighted, “... walks (1st, 71), hits (2nd, 110), on-base percentage (2nd, .567), and batting average (3rd, .426).”
“Dylan is a really good player, good tools, great make-up kid,” Kline said.
“Profiles in center field, runs well, strong arm, kind of an advanced college hitter. He’s got the hardware to go with it, two-time SEC Player of the Year.”
Which of his tools stood out for the Nationals when they scouted the outfielder?
“All of his tools,” Rizzo said. “He’s got a whole bag full of tools. He does everything well. His baseball IQ is terrific. He’s a great baserunner. He’s fast runner, but he’s a great baserunner also. And he plays both sides of the ball, defensively and offensively, and he’s got a propensity to barrel up the baseball. He’s an on-base percentage machine, and he’s got power, hit, defense, run, and throw, and beyond that, he’s got the demeanor and characteristics of a winner and a champion, and he was very alluring to every team out there and we were fortunate enough to grab him.”
“The bat,” Kline said.
“He’s really an advanced hitter. When Dylan is locked in he’s very skilled at driving the ball to right-center and working the middle of the diamond, and I think as he progresses in the minor leagues and at the major league level, you’re going to see him start to pull the ball more, and I think that’s where the power will start to come into play.”
Crews was asked how he’d describe himself as a player and introduce himself to any fans in the nation’s capital who haven’t seen him play?
“I’m just going to be a hard-working guy that loves to play the game and most importantly wants to win,” Crews said.
“I think those are three characteristics of mine that everybody knows and it’s going to continue as I grow and keep playing in the future.”
“Dylan is potentially a guy that moves relatively quickly,” Kline said, “and gets there, and is here in D.C. fairly soon.”
The Nationals, of course, had to wait to see what the Pirates were going to do with the No. 1 overall pick before they knew where they’d turn, but as Rizzo said, they were thrilled with an opportunity to pick a player as talented as Crews ... though, of course they would have liked the opportunity to pick No. 1 overall.
“It’s painful enough picking [at No. 2] because of how you got to pick two,” Rizzo explained, “... and we would certainly have liked to have had our choice of all the players. It takes out all the uncertainty of what the team in front of you is going to do, but we’re tickled pink to have Dylan Crews as a National. Again, he’s going to be one of the guys that is going to be front and center in the next wave of championship-caliber players here, and we’re looking forward to getting him in a Nationals uniform.”