Dylan Crews turned down millions of dollars to play for the LSU Tigers. Not thousands or tens of thousands or even hundreds of thousands. Millions.
Coming out of Lake Mary High School in Florida, Crews was already gifted. He ran the 60-yard dash in under 6.7 seconds. His velocity topped 92 MPH. Balls flew off his bat at 100 MPH.
The prized recruit from Longwood, Florida was rated the 35th-best player in the 2020 MLB Draft by CBS Sports, meaning if he would've been drafted at that spot, he would've received some $2 million as a signing bonus.
And now the talented outfielder's career has come to a close with a national championship, he's proved he made the correct decision. Crews is the most talented player to take the field at Alex Box Stadium, and he might be the best player in college baseball history.
A Look Back at Dylan Crews' Historic Career
One of the best facts about Dylan Crews is that his first collegiate home run came against future teammate and ace Paul Skenes. He took Skenes deep on Feb. 21, 2021, when Skenes pitched for Air Force, and he hasn't looked back since.
Dylan Crews goes yard for the first time!
— LSU Baseball (@LSUbaseball) February 21, 2021
He homered again the next day on Feb. 22 against Louisiana Tech. His third long ball came on Feb. 27 against Nicholls, who fell victim to Crews' power again on March 3. Later that night, he hit his fifth against Southern.
I think it?s safe to say Dylan Crews is the best freshman in country. That takes some serious strength to go down and away and hit that ball out of the park oppo.pic.twitter.com/cKFE2In6zA
— Chris Clegg (@RotoClegg) February 28, 2021
Crews was so good in his first taste of college ball that he received praise from a former LSU player who is now a MLB All-Star and World Series champion: Houston Astros third baseman Alex Bregman.
Bregman called LSU head coach Paul Mainieri personally because he was so excited after watching the freshman. The former No. 2 pick also tweeted he thought Crews will be the first overall pick in a few years. And years later, he might be right.
Alex Bregman called Paul Mainieri yesterday to talk about Dylan Crews.
"My goodness," Mainieri recalled Bregman saying, "Crews has power to the opposite gap like that?"
Bregman also asked for Will Hellmers' number to pick him up after the tough weekend.
— Wilson Alexander (@whalexander_) February 23, 2021
"He's the total package," then-LSU coach Paul Mainieri told reporters. "He not only has talent as a ball player, but he's got the greatest attitude. He's got all the tools. He's a can't miss prospect. I can't put numbers on what I expect him to accomplish."
Now, we have the numbers.
Crews finished his junior season hitting .426 with 100 runs scores — a mark that set an LSU record. He mashed 18 home runs and walked 25 more times than he struck out — a true example of his strike zone mastery. His career numbers at LSU in three years: a .380 batting average, 58 home runs, 286 hits and a .498 on-base percentage. He ended his final season by reaching base in every single game, and maintained an on-base streak of 75 games dating back to last season. Truly remarkable.
— NCAA Baseball (@NCAABaseball) June 21, 2023
Crews now has his sights set on the 2023 MLB Draft, which he's expected to be drafted either No. 1 or No. 2. A few years ago, he bet on himself to get to this spot.
Dylan Crews' Million-Dollar Bet
Crews left Lake Mary the No. 13 player in the country, according to Perfect Game. He was the highest-rated player to skip the draft and attend college in 2020.
He did all the things players of his caliber do in high school.
Chicago's Wrigley Field for the Under Armour All-American Game? Check. San Diego's Petco Park for the Perfect Game American Game? That too. Cleveland's Progressive Field for the High School All-Star Game? Sure, why not.
Crews ultimately gave up first-round money and chose LSU because he wanted to become a better player and win a national championship. He accomplished all of that.
"My ultimate dream was to go to LSU, be an icon, be a dude there," Crews told Tiger Rag. "I want to get drafted out of college in 2023. I wanted to play for (LSU) coach (Paul) Mainieri because the coaching staff there was all that I wanted. Throughout this whole process I wanted to go to LSU. It's something I always wanted to do."
"I wanted to develop my game, there's no shortcuts in baseball. There wasn't a better opportunity I could have than LSU. I know by going there, I'll mature as a player, I'm going to be a better outfielder, be a better hitter and experience going to Omaha and hopefully win a national championship. I want to be the best player that I can when I re-enter the draft in 2023."
Crews is even the reason Jay Johnson took the head coaching job when he left Arizona. Two years of Crews was too hard to pass up. Add in transfers like Tommy White and Paul Skenes, and the 2023 LSU Tigers might go down as one of the best teams ever.
"Frankly, he was a big reason why I accepted the job...knowing that I was going to have a once in a lifetime player for two years was a big deal," Johnson told reporters after winning a national championship over Florida.
Jay Johnson: "Dylan Crews is the best player in college baseball history, in my opinion. Frankly, he was a big reason why I accepted the job. I probably would've looked at LSU anyways, but knowing that I was going to have a once in a lifetime player for two years was a big deal."
— Harrison Valentine (@HValentineLSU) June 27, 2023
Next up for Crews is the MLB Draft on July 9. The Pittsburgh Pirates can select him No. 1 or take his teammate, flamethrower Paul Skenes.
Last year's No. 1 pick, Jackson Holliday, received a bonus of $8.19 million. If Crews is taken first, he'll likely get similar if not more money, meaning that bet on himself paid off big time. Regardless of where he's drafted, there might not ever be a better player to wear the purple and gold.
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