All-Star reliever Aaron Crow wants spot in Royals’ rotation

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Aaron Crow made the All-Star team as a rookie and finished the year with a 2.76 ERA and 65 strikeouts in 62 innings, but now the Royals are giving the 25-year-old former first-round pick a chance to win a rotation spot in 2012 after he started in college and the minors.

Crow told Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star that he’s “comfortable” starting and is “going into spring training with the goal of making the rotation.”

As is the case with most young pitchers it makes sense to find out if Crow can thrive in a 200-inning role before locking him into a 70-inning role, but control problems could derail his attempts to become a top-of-the-rotation starter. He walked 3.5 batters per nine innings as a starter in the minors and issued 31 free passes in 62 innings as a reliever with the Royals,

Crow seems to recognize that, telling Dutton that “the biggest thing for a starter is to keep your pitch count low, pound the strike zone and get quick outs.” If he can effectively do that Crow certainly has the raw stuff and multi-pitch repertoire to succeed as a starter, but “pound the strike zone” seems easier said than done for a 25-year-old with a history of iffy control.

2017 Preview: The National League West

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For the past few weeks we’ve been previewing the 2017 season. Here, in handy one-stop-shopping form, is our package of previews from the National League West.

The Giants had the best record in all of baseball at the All-Star Break and the Dodgers lost the best pitcher in the world in Clayton Kershaw for a big chunk of the season. Yet, somehow, L.A. won the NL West by four games. The biggest culprit was the Giants’ suspect bullpen, which they put some real money toward fixing this winter. Is it enough? Or is a a Dodgers team with a healthy Kershaw just too talented for San Francisco to handle?

Below them is an intriguing Rockies team, though probably not a truly good Rockies team. The Dbacks have a lot of assorted talent but are nonetheless in reshuffle mode following a miserable 2016 campaign. The Padres, meanwhile, are in full-fledged rebuilding mode, but do possess some of the best minor league talent in the game.

Here are our previews of the 2017 NL West:

Los Angeles Dodgers
San Francisco Giants
Colorado Rockies
Arizona Diamondbacks
San Diego Padres

2017 Preview: The American League West

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For the past few weeks we’ve been previewing the 2017 season. Here, in handy one-stop-shopping form, is our package of previews from the American League West

There’s not a lot of separation between the top three teams in this division. Indeed, it would not be a surprise for either the Astros, Rangers or Mariners to end the year on top. Part of that is because none of these contenders are perfect, with all three facing some big challenges in putting together a strong rotation.

Meanwhile, the best baseball player in the universe toils in Anaheim, where he’ll most likely have to content himself to playing spoiler. Up the coast in Oakland . . . um, green is pretty?

Our 2017 AL West Previews:

Houston Astros
Seattle Mariners
Texas Rangers
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
Oakland Athletics