Pete Crow-Armstrong has been on the radar of major league scouts since he was an underclassman at Harvard-Westlake High in California. Now a senior, Crow-Armstrong likely will follow the footsteps of former Harvard-Westlake pitchers Jack Flaherty, Max Fried and Lucas Giolito, who were all first-round picks in the MLB draft out of high school.
Although Harvard-Westlake has produced elite prep pitching, the school hasn’t had a position player drafted with ties to the program since catcher Arden Pabst was selected in the 12th round of the 2016 draft out of Georgia Tech.
“The best person I’ve talked to is Jack because I’ve known him for a while,” Crow-Armstrong said. “He played in the same Little League as me. I was on the same Little League team as his brother.
“Jack has been huge because for as much as he’s helped me with baseball stuff, he’s also been just a really good friend. We’ve definitely gotten closer recently, I think. It’s nice to be pushed by the past people.”
In 2018, Crow-Armstrong performed well on the 18-and-under U.S. national team as part of a lineup that included five 2019 MLB draft first-round picks.
That success as an underclassman allowed Crow-Armstrong to enter last summer as the top prep position player in this year’s MLB draft class. But he struggled at times at the plate on the showcase circuit last summer, which concerned scouts.
Crow-Armstrong, a left-handed hitting center fielder, has a long track record of success, and if he can quiet some of those critics this spring, he will be a top-10 pick in June. Regardless of how this spring goes, Crow-Armstrong likely will be a first-round pick.
“It’s made me more seasoned and has done well for me,” said Crow-Armstrong on playing with the U.S. national team in 2018. “I think I reached a point a year or so ago that I didn’t care what people thought about me because I know I play the game the right way.
“So there’s no pressure there. I think that made me more confident. I think being on big stages and getting to play up with guys has only helped me and been really good for me.”
Crow-Armstrong is a 6-foot-1, 190-pound left-handed hitting outfielder who currently is a four-tool player with the potential to develop his fifth tool – power – in the future. He projects as a top-of-the-order bat in the pro ranks.
He has a short, compact swing from an upright stance and consistently barrels up pitches and drives the ball to all fields. He also has the speed to be a consistent base-stealing threat.
His speed also helps him defensively, where he has solid arm strength and profiles as an above-average center fielder in pro ball.
“My defense sets me apart from other high school outfielders,” Crow-Armstrong said. “I just think I take more pride in it than most people. I think that’s a huge strength in my game.”
Crow-Armstrong isn’t content and wants to improve all of his skills in preparation for the next step in his career following his final high school baseball season.
Regardless of if he honors his commitment to Vanderbilt University or turns pro, Crow-Armstrong also hopes to had strength to his frame. He already has added about 15 pounds since the summer began when he weighed 175 pounds, he said.
“I definitely want to keep getting stronger,” Crow-Armstrong said. “I’ve seen major leaguers and how strong they are and how much pride they take in working out.
“I also really want to stay committed to an approach. If I can really master an approach and stay mentally tough, then I am going to have a lot of success at the plate.”
If Crow-Armstrong doesn’t embark on a pro career this summer, Crow-Armstrong is committed to Vanderbilt, which is one of the top college baseball programs and won the College World Series in 2019.
His relationship with coach Tim Corbin and the assistant coaches and the positive team culture the program has played a factor in Crow-Armstrong’s decision throughout the recruiting process, he said.
“I kind of always wanted to go to Vandy,” Crow-Armstrong said. “I don’t really know why, but when I was younger I was sitting on YouTube when I was maybe 12, 13 and thought Vandy seemed dope with Dansby Swanson and some other guys. That was the first college baseball moment I had.”
Dan Zielinski III has covered the MLB draft for five years. He’s interviewed 191 of the top draft prospects in that period, including three No. 1 overall picks. Multiple publications, including Baseball America, USA Today and The Arizona Republic, have quoted his work, while he’s appeared on radio stations as a “MLB draft expert.” Follow him on Twitter @DanZielinski3.