Red Sox pitching prospect Kutter Crawford’s impressive 2021 season continued on Wednesday night.
Making his 10th start of the year for Double-A Portland, Crawford surrendered just two earned runs on seven hits and zero walks to go along with nine strikeouts over six quality innings of work against the Harrisburg Senators (Nationals affiliate) at Hadlock Field.
In putting together that strong of a performance, Crawford led the Sea Dogs to an 11-6 victory over the Senators, which extended their winning streak to 15 consecutive games.
Crawford, 25, now owns an ERA of 3.30, a FIP of 3.10, and an xFIP of 2.48 through 10 outings (46 1/3 innings pitched) with Portland so far this season. He missed most of June on the COVID-19 injured list, but in those 46 1/3 innings of work, the right-hander has walked a grand total of five batters while striking out 64 of them.
Among starters in the Double-A Northeast who have pitched at least 40 innings this year, Crawford came into play Thursday ranking fifth in strikeouts per nine innings (12.43), first in walks per nine innings (0.97), second in strikeout percentage (37.2%), first in walk percentage (2.9%), seventh in batting average against (.198), and first in WHIP (0.82), per FanGraphs.
The Red Sox originally selected the 6-foot-1, 192 pound hurler in the 16th round of the 2017 amateur draft out of Florida Gulf Coast University, the same school Chris Sale attended.
In October 2019, Crawford underwent Tommy John surgery after experiencing discomfort in his throwing elbow throughout the season. He also had bone spurs removed from that very same elbow the following summer.
Since then, the Florida native has clearly returned to form to the point where he has been thoroughly impressive in Portland and could very well be on the verge of earning a promotion to Triple-A Worcester sooner rather than later if he keeps it up.
Per his SoxProspects.com scouting report, Crawford — who operates with a four-pitch mix that consists of a fastball, cutter, curveball, and changeup — “projects as a future reliever due to overall lack of pure stuff and high-stress delivery.”
He is currently regarded by SoxProspects as the 52-ranked prospect in Boston’s farm system.
One other thing to keep in mind is that Crawford can become eligible for the Rule 5 Draft for the first time in his career this winter if he is not added to the Red Sox’ 40-man roster by the November 20 deadline.
(Picture of Kutter Crawford: Kelly O’Connor/sittingstill.smugmug.com)