LSU fans knew Dylan Crews was special from the moment he stepped onto the field. But few expected the level of greatness we witnessed during his tenure.
Dylan Crews heads to the 2023 MLB Draft after winning college baseball’s version of the Heisman Trophy, the Golden Spikes Awards. More importantly, the junior outfielder was a marquee contributor to LSU’s first baseball national title since 2009. As such, a trip down memory lane is in order as we continue basking in the Tigers’ baseball glory in Baton Rouge.
2021: Freshman of the Year
The Dylan Crews experience started in 2021 when he appeared in all 63 games as a freshman. Crews posted a .362 batting average with 89 hits, 42 RBIs, 16 doubles, two triples, and 18 home runs to cement his 2021 Freshman of the Year award.
LSU fans flooded Alex Box Stadium for the 2021 season opener to watch the Tigers take on Air Force. Everyone knew how good of a prospect Dylan Crews was, but little did we know it was the beginning of one of the best players college baseball careers of all time. Crews set the tone for the rest of his college career in his first game, going 2-for-4 with a walk in the 6-1 win.
Crews’ first home run occurred in his second game against Air Force. Ironically the homer was off then-Air Force pitcher Paul Skenes. Neither knew then that they would become teammates and lead the LSU Tigers to their first National Championship since 2009.
As a true freshman, Dylan Crews led LSU in batting average, runs, hits, doubles, walks, and slugging. The Tigers went 38-25 in 2021 and reached the Super Regionals but would fall to No. 3 Tennessee in two games. Although the loss hurt, Tiger fans had much to look forward to in 2022.
2022: Co-SEC Player of the Year
Dylan Crews improved after his stellar freshman campaign so much that he finished as co-SEC Player of the Year with a .349 batting average, 87 hits, 72 RBIs, 11 doubles, and 22 dingers in 2022.
The Tigers went 40-22 and won 11 of their first 12 games in 2022. After a heartbreaking loss to Southern Miss in the Regional round of the 2022 NCAA Tournament, Crews’ future with LSU was in doubt. He had the option to enter his name into the 2022 MLB Draft, but once again turned down millions of dollars to return to LSU. And we all know what happened next.
2023: College baseball immortality
The 2023 LSU baseball team was primed for a national championship run with Crews’ return and incoming transfers Skenes and Tommy White. They entered the season as the preseason No. 1 team and held that spot for the first 13 weeks. Moreover, the Tigers were as dominant a team as any before hitting a bump in the road late in the season.
Unfortunately, LSU dropped a pair of games to unranked Auburn in May. The losses snapped a streak in which the Crews-led Tigers won or split each SEC series (7) during of the year. The Tigers dropped in the polls as a result, and Wake Forest claimed the No. 1 spot.
The Tigers dropped their second consecutive series to Mississippi State before beating Georgia two games to one just prior to the SEC Tournament. Fans were hoping LSU would regain momentum before the NCAA Tournament started, but LSU was eliminated in just three games instead.
the naysayers discounted the impact of special players like Dylan Crews
After the SEC Tournament, everyone was ready to count LSU out. Fans of every team said the Tigers wouldn’t even make it out of their Regional tournament because of their lack of pitching behind Skenes. However, the naysayers discounted the impact of special players like Dylan Crews.
Crews played an integral role as LSU traversed through the College World Series loser’s bracket to reach the finals. Then, the projected top 2 MLB draft pick demolished Florida pitching. Crews finished the series with a .426 batting average including four hits and three runs-scored.
Few LSU baseball fans will forget Crews’ ring taunt while standing on base, late in the Tigers’ 18-4 series-clinching win.
Dylan Crews finished his collegiate career on top, but he’s not done putting on a show yet. We look forward to watching the LSU alumnus play at the next level. He’s truly a franchise-changing player.