At the start of 2017, Washington Nationals minor league pitcher Matt Crownover was not a top prospect they planned to build around. The 24-year-old lefty is in his third professional season and beginning to turn heads.
A month and a half into the season, Crownover’s place in the system has changed drastically. Crownover dominated Single-A and has now moved onto Double-A where he will look to continue his stellar season.
Through six starts and another four relief appearances for the Single-A Potomac Nationals, Crownover was 3-1 with a 1.94 earned run average. He struck out batters out at a rate of 8.2 per nine while only walking them at a rate of 2.1 per nine. Numbers like these have put Crownover on the Nationals’ radar and on the Double-A Harrisburg Senators.
The Nationals only recently acknowledged Crownover’s amazing start — hence the promotion — and he has now made two starts for Senators. Unfortunately, it has not been a memorable pair of games, exemplified by the 6.00 ERA and nine total innings.
Crownover has not been especially amazing throughout his professional baseball career. However, this terrific start in 2017 has dropped his career ERA down to a very strong 3.27. At any level, this is worth paying attention to.
Last season started well for Crownover, but ended poorly following a promotion. He was very good with the Hagerstown Suns before struggling in the later part of the year with the Potomac Nationals. Another trip through Potomac this season seemed to do the trick as he clearly graduated from Single-A.
Pitching is certainly a concern for the Nationals and their farm system is no exception. Only Erick Fedde seems on the fast-track to MLB with everyone else still trying to live up to the hype or add their name to the top prospect lists.
Crownover is still far from making it to MLB. As someone not even among the franchise’s top 30 prospects, it’s going to take more than a few good weeks for this lefty to receive the final promotion.