Offseason Regimen Pays Off For Wil Crowe

Righthander Wil Crowe wanted to do more than tell the Nationals about his offseason workout regimen. He wanted to show them.

By spending most of his offseason in West Palm Beach, Fla., and continuing his throwing program at the organization’s spring training home, the 6-foot-2, 232-pound Crowe made enough of an impression to open at high Class A Potomac this season. The 2017 second-rounder from South Carolina started his pro career last year with 24 innings over nine starts, primarily at short-season Auburn.

Nationals officials gave Crowe time to adjust to the minor leagues last year while limiting his innings following his return from Tommy John surgery. Now they believe he’s ready to jump over low Class A and pitch in the Carolina League.

“Wil impressed our staff in his first spring training by commanding all four of his pitches (and) attacking the strike zone,” farm director Mark Scialabba said, “and he was able to effectively mix his offspeed pitches for strikes.”

In October, Crowe and his fiancee moved into an apartment about 10 minutes from the Nationals’ spring headquarters. After visiting family over the holidays, he was back in Florida on Jan. 5, about two months before minor leaguers were required to report to spring training.

“Coming off Tommy John, I knew they wanted to see me all the time,” Crowe said. “I also lost 10 pounds, so I feel like I look better, and I’m pitching better.”

As a redshirt junior last year, Crowe went 6-5, 3.41 with 90 strikeouts in 92 innings in the Southeastern Conference. Then he recorded a 2.96 ERA with 17 strikeouts and four walks in his pro debut.

After staying in Columbia, S.C., for a fourth year because of his April 2015 elbow surgery, Crowe was able to graduate last May with a degree in public health and a minor in criminal justice. He also gained a different perspective on baseball.

“I think you grow up—and realize how much you love the game,” said Crowe, 23. “Any time you miss 12 to 14 months doing what you love, that helps you not take things for granted as much when you come back.”

Crowe throws both his four-seam and two-seam fastballs in the 90-94 mph range. He also throws a curveball, slider and changeup.

“He has a quick tempo on the mound, repeats his delivery, reads swings and pitches consistently to the bottom of the strike zone, primarily off his fastball,” Scialabba said. “We’re excited to see Wil build on the strides he made this offseason.”

>> General manager Mike Rizzo received a two-year contract extension that will run through 2020. “Mike and his staff have built quite a team—one that brings excitement to our ballpark every night and gives our city something to be proud of,” managing principal owner Ted Lerner said.

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