Kutter Crawford: The Next Star Bullpen Arm In Boston?
It seems like the Rays always churn out these odd bullpen arms that seem to always work, right? Chaim Bloom has seemed to carry that over in Boston. They found Garrett Whitlock from the depths of hell that is the Yankees farm system and was recently rewarded with an early contract extension. This time, there is another bullpen arm emerging in the early season and Bloom really can’t take credit for this one. Kutter Crawford might be a name everyone wants to start getting familiar with.
Crawford, 26, was a 16th round pick in the 2017 Rule 4 Draft out of Florida Gulf Coast. That may seem like a small school but oddly enough, it’s the same place Chris Sale went and he got taken in the first round. Crawford is a Dave Dombrowski led regime draft pick. A rarity because Boston has sort of quietly failed to develop their own pitching under his leadership.
In Crawford’s debut in 2022, pitched two scoreless innings striking out three in a win over the Yankees in the series finale. Crawford’s performance was breath taking. His stuff is pure filth.
Mike Petriello of MLB.com had the following:
“Or maybe you do now, because he struck out three Yankees to help Boston win on Sunday Night Baseball. But don’t overthink a 0.00 ERA, in the same way that Blue Jays fans shouldn’t worry that José Berríos has a 108.00 ERA. (Yes, really.) What’s more impressive than the whiffs is what the data says about how his pitches move, and how he got there.
So, consider this. Crawford’s four-seamer this season has shown rise nearly four inches more than average; that would have been top-five in 2021. His curveball has nearly six inches more drop than average; that would have been top-20 last year. And his kutter — er, cutter — has three inches more break than average, which would have been top-five last year.
Everything moves, is the point, and the 95.4 mph fastball velo (now that he’s a reliever) is better than the 93.8 mph he showed in a lone start last season. Everything is pointing in the right direction here.”
This is hard to ignore. It just feels so similar to the Garrett Whitlock experience (it’s VERY unlikely Crawford is as good). You just knew this guy was unhittable and was going to be a real problem. Crawford isn’t perfect and who knows what the rest of the season holds for him. This stuff? Are you watching the same thing I am? I’m buying ALL of the Kutter Crawford stock. Feed me all of it.
This dude is funky. That’s all I know. Hides the baseball well prior to releasing the ball. Has plenty of fastball velocity. The offspeed stuff is gross in a good way. The Red Sox may have more pitching than you just may think. A unit everyone seems to be doubting coming into the 2022 MLB season.