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Thursday, June 5, 2008

Nats Select Crow With First Round Pick

Washington, DC--With the ninth overall pick in the 2008 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft, the Washington Nationals selected right-handed pitcher Aaron Crow from the University of Missouri. Nationals Senior Vice President and General Manager Jim Bowden, Vice President of Baseball Operations and Assistant General Manager Mike Rizzo, and Director of Scouting Dana Brown made the announcement at Nationals Park.

“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 changeup — and has exceptional command,” Bowden said. “I give credit to Mike Rizzo, Dana Brown, Bob Boone and our entire scouting staff for once again securing such a remarkable talent with the ninth overall pick in the Draft.” Over his three seasons at Missouri, Crow compiled a 23-8 record with a 3.27 ERA in 52 games -- 46 starts.

Crow has an unusual "hitch" in his motion, but Bowden believes it's something he can succeed with. "We got a lot of different opinions in our organization, and certainly at the end of the day, all of our people were satisfied. No one was red-flagged. At all." Rizzo added, "With stop-action pictures, frame-by-frame, we saw that the arm gets to the power position perfectly on time even with the little 'wrap' that he's got."

"We continue to try to stockpile as many potential number one and number two starters as we can to build this organization into a championship club," Bowden said. "[We] were all in unanimous feeling when it was our turn to select who we should take."

Assistant Manager Mike Rizzo said, "We believe he's an impact pitcher, top of the rotation type, that could be the type of pitcher that would lead us to world series championships down the road."

Crow, 21, was rated the No. 2 pitching prospect (No. 5 overall) and was recognized as the college prospect with the “Best Fastball” in this year’s Draft by Baseball America. He went 13-0 with a 2.35 ERA in fifteen starts this season en route to being named a Golden Spikes Award finalist, the Big 12 Pitcher of the Year and a Louisville Slugger First-Team All-American. The 6-foot-2, 205-pound junior tossed four shutouts and struck out 127 batters with just 38 bases on balls in 107.1 innings. His school-record thirteen wins led all NCAA pitchers, and his 127 strikeouts were sixth-most in the nation. Crow was a semi-finalist for the Dick Howser Trophy and the Roger Clemens Award this season, and at one point worked 43.0 consecutive scoreless innings, the fourth-longest such streak in NCAA history.

"We think that this is a pitcher, if he signs fast, can get to the big leagues fairly quickly," Bowden said. "The last game we saw him pitch, he would have pitched in the big leagues that night."

Tim Beckham, an 18-year old shortstop from Georgia, was the number one selection by the Tampa Bay Rays.

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