In a recent article for MLB.com, the likes of Jim Callis, Sam Dykstra, and Jonathan Mayo named a prospect for each team whom they felt could one day develop into a Major League closer. Whether due to pure “stuff” or some other external reason, the trio of writers went into detail on 30 separate prospects – including a name from the Texas Rangers of course.
A second-round pick straight out of high school back in 2017, Hans Crouse has been one of the Rangers’ more highly regarded pitching prospects for quite some time now. For the most part he’s been productive down in the Minor Leagues since joining the Texas farm system, with his high velocity fastball and devastating slider being his main go-to pitches.
Hans Crouse could be a future closer for the Texas Rangers.
Here’s the blurb on Crouse from the previously mentioned MLB.com article:
Rangers: Hans Crouse, RHP (No. 7)
Though the Rangers plan on developing Crouse as a starter, there are evaluators who believe his delivery and high-energy approach ultimately will fit best in a late-inning bullpen role. The 2017 second-rounder from a California high school definitely has closer-worthy stuff with a riding fastball that reaches 99 mph and a wipeout slider with mid-80s velocity and two-plane break.
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Like Callis, Dyksta, and Mayo mentioned, the Rangers are currently planning to develop Crouse up as a staring pitcher moving forward. At just 22 years old and having yet to make an appearance in Double-A, there’s little reason to bail on the starter pathway quite yet.
However, Crouse does in fact have the profile of someone who would excel in a bullpen role. HIs fastball is already nearing that ever coveted triple-digit mark, and his secondary slider has the makings of a high swing-and-miss pitch in the Major Leagues.
Crouse’s biggest weakness at the moment is his lack of a reliable third pitch, as his changeup has yet to really develop at an above average rate. He’s also battled some injury issues back in 2019 (elbow bone spurs), which is something to consider when profiling his status as either a stater or a reliever.
Crouse didn’t pitch in 2020 due to the cancelation of Minor League baseball across the United States, and he’s yet to log an inning pitched here in 2021.
He currently possesses a 3.27 ERA and a 9.3 K/9 rate across 162.1 innings of Single-A/Rookie ball, so there’s definitely something to keep an eye on here. His health and delivery style are also worth paying attention to, as both could determine his status as a starting pitcher later down the road.
It’s too early to really predict what type of future Crouse has with the Texas Rangers, but it’s rather interesting nevertheless that he’s the guy MLB.com is pinning as a potential future closer for Texas.