Red Sox prospect Kutter Crawford can find redemption in the bullpen
As labor negotiations continue to progress between the owners and MLBPA we can finally start to really think about the 2022 season. This means we can start guessing what path the Red Sox may go down as the new campaign nears. Will they focus on promoting from within and harvesting their farm system, or will they look to trades and free agency to improve upon their deficiencies?
I do believe there will be a few signings coming out of Chaim Bloom’s office but I do think that he’s not afraid to make some calls to Worcester. One guy that I really want to see get his chance in Boston this season is Kutter Crawford. The right-hander from Florida made his Major League debut this past season and let’s just say it wasn’t one that he’d probably like to remember.
He would only see three innings of work in his first start in the big leagues as the Cleveland Guardians absolutely rocked him. Crawford got touched up to the tune of five earned runs from five hits and two walks. He’d leave the game with a vomit-inducing 22.50 ERA, again, something that I bet he’d like to forget.
His arrival with the Red Sox wasn’t something that seemed to be in the long-term plans of the season as he was up and then back down in the blink of an eye. Under better circumstances, he very well could’ve put in a performance more reflective of his MiLB career 3.63 ERA. I for one would love to see Kutter back with the Sox at some point this season.
The righty will turn 26 as the season kicks off so time is not on his side as far as a shot in Boston. He’s currently ranked as the 27th prospect in the Red Sox system by Sox Prospects. They also have his expected promotion date around the mid-point of this season, which could come at the right time depending on the state of Boston’s relief efforts.
While he is a starting pitcher, that’s not really the area that the Red Sox are hurting in right now. The bullpen, on the other hand, has been a Wild West shootout over the last few years with a new gunslinger seemingly showing up nightly. In their analysis, Sox Prospects believes that Crawford’s future best lies with the bullpen, and it makes sense.
He relies on his fastball and cutter heavily while also having a curve and change if necessary. Not having those secondary and third-level pitches will man a lot of short outings for a starter. But with his two big weapons firing, he can be a strong asset in the relief department. He can come in and get his one to two innings of work in and be out of dodge before things have a chance to go south.
Currently, Kutter is getting his reps in the Dominican Winter League and he’s absolutely killing it. In five starts, he’s tossed 21 1/3 innings with a 0.42 ERA, 1.078 WHIP, and a 9.7 K/9. I love the numbers I’m seeing except for the inning count.
In five starts, you’d think he’d average five innings per outing, but he’s coming in closer to four. I don’t know if this is a game plan from the Red Sox to convert him into a reliever but he’s not staying out on the mound very long.
If I had a say in things I would prefer the Red Sox to see what they have in guys before overpaying on unknowns. I would like to see them bring in an inexpensive reliever or two but still give their prospects the proper looks. That means I need to see some Kutter Crawford back in the big leagues. Work him as a reliever and let him flourish with his best weapons shining.