Tony Vitello and the Tennessee Vols baseball program received some tough news on Sunday night.
Last week, UConn first baseman/left-handed pitcher Reggie Crawford announced his intention to transfer to Tennessee.
Let’s do it! @vol_baseball 🍊— Reggie Crawford (@reggiecrawford) July 12, 2022
Thank you to everyone at UConn for an unbelievable past couple of years. I am extremely thankful for Coach Penders as well as the rest of the coaching staff, my teammates, friends, etc. who made it such a great experience. I will forever be grateful pic.twitter.com/NJCiqWgbW7
Unfortunately for the Vols, it looks like Crawford won’t be making it to Knoxville.
On Sunday night, the San Francisco Giants selected Crawford with the No. 30 overall pick in the 2022 MLB Draft.
Crawford is an impressive talent who can hit 101 MPH from the mound to go along with a plus slider that can make batters look silly. He also has legitimate power as a hitter. Crawford could be the next coming of Shohei Ohtani.
Vitello was actually part of the MLB Network broadcast when Crawford was selected by the Giants.
“We rehearsed it,” said Vitello during the broadcast. “I told him if he goes while I’m up here, I’m supposed to throw my clipboard.”
“Happy for Reggie Crawford,” added Vitello. “He was supposed to be coming to us through the transfer portal, but he’s a first-rounder. And all these scouts, they’ve got their 80 grade. I’m still not smart enough on how they rank guys, but 80 is as high as you’re going to go on makeup. And that’s what they all say about the kid.”
This is just one of the many quirks of college baseball. Getting a kid to commit is just half the battle. The Vols were far from the only college program to lose a signee/commit to the draft on Sunday night. And they won’t be the last.
Crawford would’ve been a solid addition to Tennessee, but unless some crazy dispute happens with the Giants, he’ll be starting his professional career later this summer instead of heading to Rocky Top.
Note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly identified Reggie Crawford as the son of former MLB all-star Carl Crawford. That player is actually Justin Crawford, who was selected by the Philadelphia Phillies with the No. 17 overall pick. We regret the error.
Featured image via Caitie McMekin/News Sentinel / USA TODAY NETWORK