No. 2 overall pick Crews hammers his first pro homer

August 6th, 2023

That didn't take long.

, the No. 2 overall pick of this year's Draft who drilled 58 home runs over three seasons at Louisiana State, belted his first dinger as a member of the Washington Nationals organization on Sunday. The long ball -- estimated at 416 feet with a 105 mph exit velocity -- came in his ninth professional plate appearance and third pro game, second with Single-A Fredericksburg.

"I just saw a breaking ball up, and was able to get to it," Crews said. "I wasn't really trying to do anything special with it. Just trying to get to the pitch, and was able to hit one out. So it felt good. It felt really good."

Crews comes into the pro game with a 70-grade hit tool and 60-grade power. The 21-year-old outfielder agreed to terms with the Nationals (for $9 million, the second-highest bonus for a drafted player all-time) on July 23. The pressure that might come with that kind of money, however, is a non-issue in Crews' view.

"I've dealt with pressure my whole life, so it's nothing new to me," Crews said. "I see pressure as a privilege, and I use it to my strength. I go out there and just do me at the end of the day. I know how to handle it."

Between his signing and his first professional home run, he debuted with a 3-for-3 showing in the Florida Complex League on Thursday.

Promoted to the Single-A Carolina League, Crews went 0-for-5 with a strikeout against the Salem Red Sox on Saturday, then did an about-face with the jack that put the FredNats on the board in the opening inning Sunday. He drew a lesson from that success.

"Swinging at my pitches, not trying to expand," Crews said. "I'm trying to get one percent better every day, really. It's a work in progress, you know, trying to get acclimated. Just going back to the basics, seeing the baseball, and driving through the middle of the field."

Crews' home run was not the only first that meant something to him during Fredericksburg's 8-5 win over the Salem Red Sox. His fellow Louisiana State University teammate and College World Series champion Gavin Dugas also chipped in with a homer of his own in the fifth frame for the Nationals.

"You can't draw it up any better," Crews said. "I'm so happy for that kid. That kid deserves everything, and he's one of the hardest workers I've ever seen. I'm very happy for him, and I'm very excited to be able to share this moment with him. It was a great day for us."