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Wil Crowe, backend starter

Washington Nationals v Miami Marlins - Game Two Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images

One of the players that came over in the Josh Bell to Washington trade was starting pitcher Wil Crowe. It was clear that the Pittsburgh Pirates were going to need to get another starter on the market heading into the 2021 season. It would appear Crowe is that pitcher.

In only three games, 8.1 innings pitched, Crowe doesn’t have a very long track record of Major League experience. He had a 12.31 FIP and was worth -0.5 fWAR in 2020. That’s in stark contrast to his minor league numbers, where his WHIP sat closer to 1.00 for most of his lower level contributions. With a minor league FIP that likes to hang around 4.00, Crowe might be best suited for a backend role, which is where the Pirates will slot him.

With a PITCHf/x velocity on his fastball and sinker sitting in the low-90s, he likely won’t blow batters away. Those pitches combine to form a majority of his offerings, mixed in with a slider which was used around a quarter of the time during his limited usage.

While Crowe was a top prospect in the Nationals system, and while he remains one with the Pirates, at age 26 he’s unlikely to strongly factor into the Pirates future plans and, just like the organizational state, he’ll serve as a bridge piece to the next thing — particularly if Pittsburgh trades Joe Musgrove and Steven Brault. With holes to fill, the front office decided that this was the best way to do that very thing, avoiding searching the free agent market for a bargain bin starter. That’s fair enough but we shouldn’t expect Crowe to be in the fold in the future. Best case scenario? He excels and is a piece the Pirates can ship off at a later date.