Tennessee baseball picked up a huge commitment in the transfer portal last week, landing Reggie Crawford from UConn. The 6-4, 235 pounder is a two-way star, doubling as an impact player both at the dish and on the mound.
On Sunday night, he became a first round draft pick.
The San Francisco Giants took Crawford with the 30th overall pick, meaning we’ll likely never see Crawford play for Tennessee. Most analysts expected that to be the case, but Tennessee fans were hopeful. So was Tony Vitello.
“We rehearsed it,” Vitello said on the set of MLB Network’s draft coverage, “I told him if he goes while I’m up here, I’m supposed to throw my clipboard.
“Happy for Reggie Crawford. He was supposed to be coming to us through the transfer portal, but he’s a first-rounder.”
Crawford was a riser throughout the draft process, and ends up landing in a spot that he likely can’t pass up. Last week he was mocked 57th overall to the Braves — on Sunday he lands nearly 30 spots higher.
He missed last season, but hit over .300 and drove in 78 RBIs for UConn in two years of work. Scouts are intrigued with his work on the mound the most, however. The left-hander can touch triple digits on the gun, but is coming off of Tommy John surgery. There’s some uncertainty here, but the Giants will bet on traits and try to develop him over the next few seasons.
Crawford was set to play both ways for Tennessee next season, but Vitello will more than likely now have to go with plan B.