June 5, 2008
By David Driver
For the Examiner, used with permission
WASHINGTON - The Washington Nationals selected Aaron Crow, a junior right-handed pitcher from the University of Missouri, with the ninth pick in the first round of the baseball draft on Thursday.
Crow was 13-0 with an ERA of 2.35 in 15 starts this season for Missouri. He had 127 strikeouts in 107 1/3 innings and his school-record 13 wins led all NCAA pitchers.
"Aaron Crow is a potential top-of-the-rotation starting pitcher who has three solid pitches, including a mid-90s fastball, a quality slider and a change-up, and has exceptional command," said Nationals general manager Jim Bowden.
Last year, the Nationals took another college pitcher, Ross Detwiler of Missouri State, with their top pick in the draft. Detwiler, now at Single-A Potomac, pitched one game for Washington last September.
Crow, rated the fifth-best prospect by Baseball America, said he was eager to begin his pro career.
"I think it is the culmination of all of the hard work I have put in," Crow said. "I have a lot of confidence in myself. That is what helps me out a lot. I hope to start playing very soon."
Bowden said the Nationals scouted every start Crow made this spring. "It wasn't a surprise at all that this happened," Crow said.
Crow, a Topeka, Kan., native, was the Big 12 pitcher of the year, and threw 43 consecutive scoreless innings, the fourth-longest streak in NCAA history.
For the first time since 1973, just one pitcher was taken in the draft's first eight picks.
"We believe he is an impact pitcher, the type of pitcher that could lead us to the World Series," said Mike Rizzo, the National's assistant general manager.