This week’s installment of “Due Diligence” is with Giants 2009 9th round pick, Evan Crawford.
Evan has made his presence known in his first couple months of professional ball, ending the year with a .300 avg across the Arizona Rookie League and Salem-Keizer. Fans are definitely going to want to pay attention to his growth in the system as I’ve gotten a chance to see him play and he has all the tools to be a great lead-off threat.
Evan helped lead the Indiana Hoosiers to their second Big Ten Tournament championship and led the league in stolen bases last year.
AZG: Thanks again Evan for spending some time with us today. Was it a tough decision to enter the draft after your junior year or did you know there was nothing else you needed to prove in college ball?
E Crawford - I don’t think it was a very tough decision for me to leave Indiana and start my pro career. I had proven what I felt I needed to prove and accomplished a lot including transforming a sub .500 program into a team that won the Big Ten Tournament Championship for the first time since 1996.
AZG: Did you know the Giants were going to select you or was it more of a toss up?
E Crawford - I had no idea that I would be drafted by the Giants. The only contact I had with the team was about a week before the draft when Kevin Christman e-mailed me asking for some medical information.
AZG: You got a chance to get a true taste of professional ball this year by playing in both the Rookie League and with the Volcanoes. What was your your first year like and was it what you thought it was going to be?
E Crawford - My first year was a success. We won the Northwest League Championship, and I was also apart of a very talented Arizona Rookie League team. I had a good time and got what I was expecting for my first professional experience.
AZG: Speaking of the Volcanoes, you mentioned they won the NWL title this year and you played a big part in the team’s success. How badly did you want a ring, and what was that last game like winning in walk off fashion in the 13th?
E Crawford - I wanted a ring extremely bad. Winning that last game in the 13th inning was probably one of the best games I’ve been involved in. It was a great way to end the season and go our separate ways for a while until Spring Training.
AZG: Swiping bags has always been a huge part of your game. In college you led the Big 10 in SBs. What’s your approach to baserunning? What do you look for when to go and would you consider yourself aggressive on the bases or more strategic?
E Crawford - When it comes to base running the most important thing I think about is not being timid. Like the old saying goes, you can’t steal second with your foot still on first. You have to be aggressive and not scared to get thrown out. Trust your abilities and whatever happens happens.
AZG: Do you see yourself as a lead off man? Do you like hitting at the top of the order?
E Crawford - I have always seen myself as a lead-off type of hitter. I feel comfortable at the top of the order and I love all the at bats.
AZG: You recently had the opportunity to attend a conditioning camp at AT&T Park. What were the trainers specifically working on and teaching you for the off season?
E Crawford - AT&T Park was great. The trainers were focusing on baseball specific work outs that we should be doing in the off season to get our bodies ready for the long season.
AZG: I’ve asked this question to other CF’s, but you also had a chance to meet the greatest CF of all time in Willie Mays. What was that like? Was he one of your heroes as a kid and did he give you any specific advice or encouragement?
E Crawford - It was an honor to meet Willie Mays. He’s very charismatic and has great knowledge of the game. It was good just to hear him talk and soak in greatness.
AZG: What has been the best thing so far about playing within the Giants organization?
E Crawford - The best thing about the Giants is that it’s an organization on the rise. It’s full of young talent and it’s refreshing to be apart of a team with big things to come in the future. I hope to stay apart of it.
AZG: As kind of a trademark to these interviews, is there anything you’d like to say to the fans?
E Crawford - I would like to say thank you for supporting Giants in the the Minors and the Majors. It’s nice to have fans and all I can say is I will do whatever I can for you to stay fans. That’s why we play, for you guys.
You can see Evan in action when I covered the Instructional league team taking on the Dodgers, here. and access the gallery.
Stay Tuned to the site for our next interview as I got a chance to sit down with 2009 standout THOMAS NEAL.