WEYMOUTH, Mass. (July 19, 2022) -- An unprecedented run of Futures League history continued on Sunday night as a former player was selected in the first round of the Major League Baseball (MLB) Draft for the third consecutive year.
Former Westfield Starfires and University of Connecticut star Reggie Crawford heard his name by the San Francisco Giants with the 30th and final selection of the opening round. Crawford is the first Westfield alum to be drafted since the franchise’s inception in 2019.
Crawford’s selection highlighted a group of eight former Futures League players who were drafted on the first two days. The 2022 MLB Draft continued with Rounds 3-10 on Monday.
The Futures League’s 2020 Co-Top Pitching Prospect, Crawford saw action as both a pitcher and first baseman for the Starfires two summers ago. The flamethrowing southpaw recorded three saves and struck out 10 batters in 6.1 innings across five appearances. He also hit .218 with four doubles, two home runs, 11 RBI and 11 runs scored in 23 games as a position player.
After hitting 13 home runs and striking out 17 in 7.2 innings pitched for UConn in 2021, Crawford’s true breakout in the eyes of scouts came last summer as he touched triple digits on the radar gun with the U.S. Collegiate National Team. In 2021, his 13 home runs and 62 RBI topped the Big East Conference, while his RBI total finished that season tied for fourth in UConn’s single-season history and were the most since George Springer in 2010.
However, a fall injury required Tommy John surgery and sidelined Crawford for all of 2022 as the Huskies posted the best season in New England’s Division 1 college baseball history, winning 50 games and moving within one of a College World Series appearance.
In 2020 and 2021, the Futures League produced a first-round pick in back-to-back years for the first time ever. A total of 27 current and former league players were selected in the 2021 MLB Draft, including a record four in the first two rounds.
Former Boston College outfielder Sal Frelick (North Shore ‘18,’20) was drafted 15th overall by the Milwaukee Brewers last July, becoming the highest draftee in league history a year after Washington Nationals farmhand Cade Cavalli (Pittsfield ‘17) heard his name called with the 22nd overall selection in 2020.
The only former Futures League player drafted in the first round prior to Cavalli in 2020 was another BC product, Chris Shaw, who was the No. 31 overall pick (in the first compensation round) back in 2015. Shaw became the second-ever league alumni to reach “The Show” with the Giants in 2018.
Crawford will join a San Francisco organization that has recently stocked up on Futures League talent. Three of the Giants’ picks in 2021 were league alumni including 2020 Pitcher of the Year Nick Sinacola (seventh round) and two-time All-FCBL outfielder Jared Dupere (13th round), who played for the Brockton Rox and Nashua Silver Knights, respectively.
Seven other league alumni were selected on Monday. Two went to the Tampa Bay Rays in 2020 All-FCBL and Vanderbilt catcher Dominic Keegan (Nashua ‘20) in the fourth round and Kentucky’s Sean Harney (Brockton ‘18) in the eighth. One pick after Keegan, fellow former Silver Knight and Virginia Tech outfielder Nick Biddison (Nashua ‘18) was taken off the board by the Dodgers.
A trio was completed in the seventh round when Northeastern’s Cam Schlittler (Nashua ‘19) was taken by the New York Yankees, becoming the third straight former Silver Knight to come off the board on the league’s list.
Two other Futures League teams were represented with picks in the ninth round as Oklahoma State outfielder Caeden Trenkle (Pittsfield ‘19) was selected by Oakland and Assumption left-handed pitcher Jack Choate (Worcester ‘21) joined Crawford with San Francisco. Choate is the league’s single-season strikeout record holder.
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