The Philadelphia Phillies top prospect was named today as MLB’s #2 shortstop prospect.
MLB.com has been ranking the Top 10 prospects at each position through their MLB Pipeline arm. Today the site released its Top 10 shortstop prospects, and J.P. Crawford finished at #2 in the rankings.
Crawford was listed behind only Corey Seager of the Los Angeles Dodgers, who already made his big league debut last season at age 21. Seager was given 113 plate appearances, hitting for an outstanding .337/.425/.561 slash line with four homers, 17 RBI, and 17 runs scored.
It was Seager, not veteran Jimmy Rollins, who was the starting shortstop during the NLDS against the New York Mets. Seager was given the start in four of the five games, and is now set to take over that starting shortstop role full-time in the 2016 season. He is an early favorite for the National League Rookie of the Year award.
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For his part, Crawford hit for a .288/.380/.414 slash line with six homers, 42 RBI, 68 runs scored, and a dozen stolen bases over 500 plate appearances split between High-A Clearwater and AA Reading.
Crawford just turned 21 years of age in early January, and has been invited to his first Phillies big league spring training camp beginning next month in Clearwater. It is expected that he will start the season as the AAA Lehigh Valley IronPigs shortstop, and be in position to push for a shot at reaching the Majors sometime later in the summer.
In his writeup of Crawford for the rankings, MLB.com’s Jim Callis said that he “has tremendous range to go with soft hands and a strong arm, and he’s also a mature hitter who controls the strike zone and owns some gap power.“
It is clear that Crawford is the Phillies shortstop of the future, and that future is very nearly here. He will be an outstanding defender at the position. Now the only question is just how productive an offensive force he can become.
Crawford does not possess elite speed or big time power. But he is an outstanding hitter with a great eye at the plate. He has enough speed to be a 20-25 stolen base threat. If he can become that smart and aggressive on the bases, and develop enough strength to become a consistent 15-20 home run player, he could indeed become the next JRoll.
The Phillies will be happy if he can arrive this year or early next, and become a central piece to a young, developing team that can get back to contending status in the next few seasons. On Friday, MLB.com will release its Top 100 prospects, and it is expected that Crawford will be found among the Top 5 on that list.