Hans Crouse is the definition of on the rise. The righty was selected by the Rangers in the second round of the 2017 draft out of Dana Hills High School in Dana Point, California. He walked away from a University of Southern California commitment when the Rangers went way over slot to sign him.
Crouse is a lanky 6’4, but before we even discuss his stuff, which is electric, I want to talk about his mound presence overall. Let’s put it this way, Crouse is confident and he isn’t afraid to show it. Despite his thin frame, his fiery and animated presence on the mound can be rather intimidating to opposing hitters. He has a unique, almost violent delivery and he tends to show emotion at times, something we don’t see from a whole lot of his pitchers, especially at his age. Crouse will be a fan favorite with his big personality and his big stuff.
The most exciting pitch in the California native’s arsenal is the high 90’s fastball. It has a nice riding action to it and the combination of velocity and movement makes it tough for opposing hitters to barrel. The changeup is still developing, but he does posses a breaking ball that has improved in his time with the Rangers. His delivery really plays all of his pitches up in my opinion. He reaches way back and hides the ball well and while some people think that approach will not be sustainable, I think it adds an element of deceptiveness to his game.
Just 19 years old, Crouse was recently called up to Single-A where he is three years younger than the average competition in his league. While he has yet to make an appearance since the promotion, which he will do very soon, we know going pro and bypassing the college game was the right move for him. He appeared in 10 games with the Arizona Rookie League club in 2017 where he tossed a total of 20 innings in which he struck out 30 batters. He would start 2018 with Short Season Spokane and dominate Northwest league hitters to a .179 average against. Couple that with his 47 strikeouts to 11 walks over 38 innings, throw in an NWL all-star appearance, and Crouse was shipped to full season ball quickly.
There are some solid pitchers in the Rangers system, but unfortunately many have been battling injury as of late. Crouse has been lucky enough to avoid that fate so far and in my eyes he has secured himself as the Rangers top pitching prospect. While the fireballer is still years away, there is no doubt in my mind he will be making a big impact at the major league level down the road.