Go ahead, call Trevor Crowe a bust.
If that’s what you call a career extending from the College World Series to the big leagues with a few million dollars in between, sign him up.
“If I never play another baseball game, I will be so thankful for the career that I’ve had,” the Mud Hens left fielder said. “I am so blessed for the opportunities that I’ve already received in this game. Everything now in my eyes is a bonus.”
AT THE PLATE: Trevor Crowe
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Not that he’s ready for the ride to end.
A former first-round pick of the Cleveland Indians, the 30-year-old Crowe came to Toledo this season in search of a measure of the form that once made him one of the game’s top prospects.
He must now account for age and injury — so far in Toledo, the one-time blistering center fielder has labored through a second act that must rely more on run production than speed. He missed time early with a strained oblique and is batting .164 (10 for 61) with a home run and nine RBIs.
Yet Crowe has been around this wondrous, heartbreaking game long enough to know little is ever as it seems in the moment.
“This game is so funny,” he said. “When you think you’re out, you’re in. When you think you’re in, you’re out. That’s one of the things I’ve learned over the years is just to come to work every day, be prepared, do your job, and eventually things will work out the way they’re supposed to.”
Now with his fourth organization in two years, Crowe once very much seemed in for good.
A natural at pretty much everything — the Portland, Ore., native was an all-metro defensive back in high school and a former member of the junior national racquetball team — he could do anything on the field. His final year at Arizona, he batted .403 with nine homers, 54 RBIs, and 27 steals in 60 games. Crowe was named Pac-10 player of the year along with Oregon State’s Jacoby Ellsbury and drafted 14th overall by the Indians.
Yet like most Cleveland draft picks, the promise never fully gave way to major-league results. The Indians have not had an impact first-round pick since drafting pitcher C.C. Sabathia in 1998. Third baseman Lonnie Chisenhall is their only pre-2011 first-rounder still with the organization.
Crowe made his debut with the Indians in 2009 and batted .251 with 36 RBIs and 20 stolen bases in 2010 before major shoulder surgery expedited his end in Cleveland. He was released in 2012.
After spending part of last season with the Houston Astros, where he batted .218 in 60 games, Crowe said the Tigers’ star-filled roster in Detroit attracted him to Toledo.
“It was an opportunity to hopefully one day have that experience to play up there with that type of team,” he said.
For now, the Motor City is a world away. Adjustments must be made.
“We’re trying to get him where he’s not thinking so quick and he’s stronger through the ball,” Hens manager Larry Parrish said. “He was one of those guys who came up as kind of a runner, a line-drive runner. The second half of his career, he probably has to be more of an RBI-type guy.”
Crowe, though, is confident he will be that guy. If it seems like he is out today, he knows how fast fortunes can turn.
“Everything that’s happened is already in the past,” Crowe said. “And where I am right now is with the Toledo Mud Hens and a great organization — hopefully with an opportunity to get another chance in the big leagues.”
AT THE PLATE: Trevor Crowe
Mud Hens left fielder Trevor Crowe is a former first-round pick of the Cleveland Indians. BLADE/JETTA FRASER