Phillies Promote J.P. Crawford to AAA

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Mar 13, 2016; Tampa, FL, USA; Philadelphia Phillies shortstop J.P. Crawford (77) against the New York Yankees at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 13, 2016; Tampa, FL, USA; Philadelphia Phillies shortstop J.P. Crawford (77) against the New York Yankees at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /
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The Philadelphia Phillies have promoted their top prospect, moving him one step away from the big leagues.

The Phillies announced this morning that top prospect shortstop J.P. Crawford has been promoted to the AAA Lehigh Valley IronPigs.

The move means that the club feels he is ready for the finishing stage of his minor league development, and puts him just a step away from the big leagues.

Crawford was hitting for a .265/.398/.390 slash line with three homers, 13 RBI, 23 runs scored, eight doubles, and five stolen bases over 166 plate appearances in 36 games with the AA Reading Fightin’ Phils this season.

We see that he’s doing things the right way; he’s progressing the right way,” Reading manager Dusty Wathan said prior to the announcement per Philly.com’s Matt Breen. “We’re really happy with what’s going on. He’s a young player, one of the youngest guys in this league. And he’s playing great.”

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Crawford got to experience his first extended taste in a big league environment when he was invited to spring training earlier this year for the first time. Over 11 games in the Grapefruit League, Crawford hit just .150 and scored four runs.

Just a few weeks ago, Crawford was asked about a possible promotion to AAA by Andrew Kulp of The 700 Level: “You don’t worry about that,” said Crawford. “You just gotta go out there every day and focus where you’re at, focus on that nine, trying to help your team get a W. That’s all I’m worried about right now.”

Now the team that he is trying to help win will be the mega-talented Pigs. The Phils’ AAA affiliates currently sit in third place at 22-18, but just one game behind the leaders in the International League’s North Division.

Manager Dave Brundage’s squad will now feature five players who we named in our TBOH Phillies Top 10 Prospects rankings back in February: Crawford, outfielder Nick Williams, catcher Andrew Knapp, and pitchers Jake Thompson, Mark Appel, and Zach Eflin.

The timetable for arrival at Citizens Bank Park in a Phillies uniform for any of these prospects is going to be largely driven by their performance on the field and the maturity off it that they exhibit while at Lehigh Valley.

A reasonable timetable would see Crawford perform with the IronPigs for most of the summer, facing the experienced pitching at the AAA level.

He would then be promoted to the Phillies and make the ride down the Pennsylvania Turnpike in a September call-up when rosters are expanded, ala Maikel Franco two years ago.

However, some combination of his own rapid progress over the next couple of months and a Phillies need at the big league level could accelerate that timetable. For now, Crawford will enjoy a move up in competition, and the challenge it presents on its own.

Next: Should the Intentional Walk Be Modified?

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