Nats take LSU standout Dylan Crews at No. 2

July 10th, 2023

SEATTLE -- In a class stacked with talent from Louisiana State, the Nationals selected outfielder Dylan Crews with the No. 2 overall pick in the 2023 MLB Draft.

Crews, who entered the Draft as MLB Pipeline’s No. 2-ranked prospect, is coming off an incredible collegiate career at LSU that culminated with the 2023 Golden Spikes Award, given annually to the best amateur baseball player in the United States

“He’s got a whole bag full of tools; he does everything well,” said Nationals general manager and president of baseball operations Mike Rizzo. “His baseball IQ is terrific. He’s a great baserunner -- he’s a fast runner, but he’s a great baserunner also. He plays both sides of the ball, defensively and offensively. He’s got a propensity to barrel up baseballs. He’s an on-base percentage machine. ...

“Beyond that, he’s got the demeanor and characteristics of a winner and a champion. He was very alluring to every team out there, and we were fortunate enough to grab him.”

The 21-year-old outfielder posted a staggering .426/.567/.713 slash during his junior season, hitting 18 homers and walking 71 times with only 46 strikeouts in 71 games. Alongside teammate and fellow Draft prospect Paul Skenes, who was drafted No. 1 by the Pirates, he helped LSU win the seventh national championship in program history last month.

“You could see the way he handled himself at the most pressure situations -- his calm, cool demeanor,” said Rizzo. “Not unlike a lot of the great players that we’ve had here in the past -- Anthony Rendon and those type of players -- that his heartbeat is slower than most and his pulse rate is slower. And the bigger the stage, the better he plays. That went into a lot of our decision-making. He’s been great for a long, long time, and we hope that he continues to be great for the Nationals.”

A potential five-tool star, Crews grades out as above average or better across the board, including an impressive right-handed stroke that has drawn rave reviews. Assistant general manager and vice president of scouting operations Kris Kline described Crews as “an advanced college hitter.” Many scouts think his speed is good enough to stay in center field long term, too.

“When Dylan gets locked in, he's very skilled at driving the ball to right-center and working the middle of the diamond,” said Kline. “I think as he progresses in the Minors and at the Major League level, you're going to see him start to pull the ball more. I think that's where the power will start to come into play."

Crews joins a group of talented Nationals prospects that is deep at the outfield positions. Among Washington’s top 10 prospects, six play the outfield -- James Wood (Nats’ No. 1, No. 5 overall), Elijah Green (No. 4), Robert Hassell III (No. 5), Cristhian Vaquero (No. 7), Jeremy De La Rosa (No. 8) and T.J. White (No. 10).

“He was a guy that we just couldn’t pass on when the Draft came around,” Rizzo said, adding, “We like to have as many players that can play center field as possible -- that means they can really play defense. We find that having an abundance of middle-of-the-field players is important to building championship-caliber clubs, and it just gives you way more options about how to disperse their ability levels and their skill levels.”

Added Kline: “Dylan is a guy that potentially moves really quickly and is here in D.C. fairly soon.”

Crews, who was born in Altamonte Springs, Fla., has not yet been to Washington, D.C., but he is very familiar with Nationals baseball -- former Nats outfielder Bryce Harper was his favorite player growing up.

“He’s just a complete player,” said Crews. “He’s out hitting homers left and right, and he can play an impact game in the outfield. He just has that ability to impact both sides of the baseball, and I’m going to work hard to be like Bryce Harper."

Crews emphasized his desire to grow and learn, while Rizzo lauded his work ethic and leadership. Crews was described as a player who is the first to arrive and last to leave.

“Leaders are born, they’re not made. We think that he’s one of them,” said Rizzo. “When you’re the most talented player and the hardest working player, you’re the leader whether you have a ‘C’ on your chest or not. We think that’s what Dylan is.”

Crews received first-round buzz heading into the 2020 Draft, but he withdrew after his final season at Lake Mary (Fla.) High School was canceled due to the pandemic and opted to fulfill his commitment to LSU, with an eye on improving his stock with the Tigers.

“I’m going to keep bringing what I’ve been bringing to the table,” said Crews. “And hopefully, [I] will bring a World Series to this organization.”

On Day 1 of the Draft, the Nationals also selected third baseman Yohandy Morales out of Miami.