MLB Draft 2022: Giants' Reggie Crawford eager to prove two-way potential

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Giants first-round pick Crawford eager for two-way opportunity originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

On a night filled with many emotions, Giants' first-round pick Reggie Crawford was beaming from ear to ear as he spoke to reporters.

Selected by San Francisco with the No. 30 pick in the 2022 MLB Draft, the Giants will take a gamble on Crawford, a two-way player capable of both throwing gas and hitting bombs.

Joined by his family, former coaches and his girlfriend on draft night, Crawford watched from home as his name was announced by commissioner Rob Manfred.

"I'm extremely happy with how the night went, but going into it, it could have been anywhere," Crawford told reporters via Zoom. "I was hearing everything, there was a ton of noise. So my expectations going into it, I just was kind of taking it minute by minute and there were slow minutes. It was really fun and I'm really enjoying it so far."

The big question after the pick was whether or not the Giants would test Crawford's two-way ability as a pitcher and a first baseman. The answer to that question is yes. Crawford revealed that he has spoken with the Giants, who are going to give him an opportunity to become a two-way player.

"I'm really happy and really thankful that they are willing to let me try it out and it's one of those things that whatever works, works and whatever doesn't, doesn't and you have to live in reality about it," Crawford said. "Initially, I am so thankful that they are allowing me to do both."

Not only will Crawford get a shot at becoming a two-way player, but he fully intends to sign with the Giants. The slot value for where he was drafted is estimated to be around $2.49 million. On Crawford's end, there is nothing standing in the way of officially becoming a Giant.

"Nope, nothing at all. 100 percent going to sign," Crawford added.

The other elephant in the room is Crawford's health. He missed the entire 2022 season after having Tommy John surgery in the fall and the lengthy rehab certainly could present challenges not only for a young prospect but especially one in Crawford's unique situation as an aspiring two-way player.

"It's one of those things that's not a controllable, so I just kind of shifted my mindset from 'alright this isn't the greatest thing' to 'alright, what do I do now?' " Crawford explained. "And having that kind of mindset throughout the journey so far has helped me a ton, because it's really not as bad as people think it is.

"I feel as though my body is a lot better now than it was eight months ago and I feel like all of the little muscles are taken care of. The surgery itself was a success; I'm feeling great. My swing, my throws feel amazing, so I'm super pleased about that but it's one of those things where you have to be real with yourself and understand that it's going to be a long journey but as long as you take care of the things you can take care of, it just takes care of itself. You can't lose sleep over it. What do you do today to make yourself better?"

Crawford had surgery eight months ago. He currently is throwing from a distance of 150 feet. He'll start hitting live pitching in about two weeks and will begin throwing off a mound in about three weeks. As far as live competition, Crawford expects to be back in action in late February or early March.

When you think of two-way players, who comes to mind? Shohei Ohtani, of course. And before him, Babe Ruth. For an up-and-coming two-way prospect, who better to model your game after than the 2021 AL MVP and arguably the face of baseball.

"I just try and maximize the things that I do, because I'm still trying to learn as much as I possibly can, but Ohtani is a great guy who is really paving the path for players like us because he's able to do it at a very high level which you obviously have to look up to him because it's not easy," Crawford told NBC Sports Bay Area. "It's demanding on the body, it's demanding on the mind and I really look up to him in that way because he's really beating the odds which is cool to see."

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Both Crawford and the Giants are hoping that his career takes him in a similar direction as Ohtani. That's not to say that he could become the next two-way phenom, but at the very least, a productive major league hitter and pitcher.

As of right now, it's clear that Crawford intends to play for the Giants, an organization that sounds like it is ready to give him a shot at doing something incredible.

Until he can prove his potential, he'll continue to maintain a positive outlook on the road ahead, which is getting brighter and brighter by the day.

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