Texas Rangers pitching prospect Hans Crouse has generated a lot of positive buzz, being heralded as an electric arm that the Rangers managed to steal in the second round of the 2017 draft, an exciting righthander who may be the best pitching prospect in the system.
Crouse dominated in the Rookie League last year, allowing just 2 runs in 20 innings of work, but the Rangers have been committed to going slow with him, and assigned him to short-season A Spokane to start the season, rather than having him in a full season league. Crouse was okay in his first few starts, but seemed a bit snakebit...he was slated to pitch the season opener for Spokane but was scratched because of a cut on his finger, had some nerves in his first start, then had his last start cut short after just a single inning due to a rain delay.
But yesterday Crouse had as dominant a start as any Ranger pitching prospect has had in years. In 7 innings, Crouse faced just one over the minimum, allowing a single hit while striking out 11 of the 22 batters he faced, walking no one. Crouse did this in just 82 pitches, 58 of which were strikes.
Its just one start, but it shows what Crouse is capable of, and why there’s so much excitement about him.
And since we are talking Ranger pitching prospects who worked last night, there were a few other well regarded guys who got starts yesterday. Joe Palumbo continued his return from Tommy John surgery, pitching 5 innings for Down East, striking out 2, allowing 4 hits, walking none and giving up a pair of unearned runs. Edgar Arredondo pitched for Frisco and bounced back from a rough outing his last time out, throwing 5 shutout innings with 3 walks, 3 Ks and 2 hits allowed. A.J. Alexy started for Hickory, giving up 4 runs in 5 innings, striking out 7 against 2 walks. And DeMarcus Evans continued his dominance for the Crawdads — pitching three innings in relief, he struck out 5 while walking just 1 and allowing no hits. In his last 7 outings, Evans has struck out 28 of the 46 batters he has faced, with 3 hits, 2 walks and no runs allowed.