As the Philadelphia Phillies reach the traditional second half of the season, the question of when to promote their top prospect begins to loom larger.
Being a Philadelphia Phillies fan who is now still just 24 years old, I grew up during the Jimmy Rollins shortstop era with the team.
When Rollins was traded it was hard to picture someone else taking that position, especially an average player like Freddy Galvis. However, the club’s top prospect, J.P Crawford, seems like he could be the next All-Star shortstop.
Crawford was the Phillies 1st round pick in the 2013 MLB Amateur Draft as the 16th overall pick, and began his career with the Phillies with their rookie minor league affiliates in the Gulf Coast League.
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During his time with the GCL Phillies, Crawford appeared in 39 games, recorded 142 at-bats, delivered 49 hits, and produced a .345 batting average which quickly sent him to the Phillies Low-A team at Lakewood.
Crawford was only in low A for a year before making his way to the Phillies AA team, the Reading Fightin’ Phils, in 2015. With Reading, Crawford hit .265 with 39 RBI in 86 games.
A year later, Crawford showed that he was ready to play for the AAA Lehigh Valley IronPigs. He got off to a slow start there at the highest minor league level, but it seems as if he is starting to get in the groove. With 42 games played, he is hitting .242 with 40 hits and 13 RBI, and has been particularly hot of late.
With the second half of the season quickly approaching, the calls are beginning to come louder from the fan base, and so it is beginning to become time to ask: should the Phillies consider bringing up Crawford to the big leagues?
I don’t think it would be such a bad idea. Before going to the IronPigs this season, Crawford began the season back down in AA. His 2016 combined numbers consist of a .252 average, 76 hits, and 26 RBI with 301 at-bats.
If he came up to the Phillies, Crawford would take the starting place of Freddy Galvis, who is only hitting .221. Galvis has just 69 hits with 312 at-bats. Galvis has played more games, has had more at bats, etc. but not by much.
Crawford was just named as the Phillies organization top defensive minor league performer for the month of June, and today was named as the top prospect in all of baseball by Baseball Prospectus. His all-around game is clearly ready for a new challenge.
I believe that after the All-Star break and before the trade deadline, the Phillies should bring up Crawford. The fans of Philadelphia deserve to see what their potential All-Star shortstop has to offer.
Whether he does indeed get promoted sooner rather than later, it is a near certainty that we will see Crawford at Citizens Bank Park before the 2016 season is over. And beginning next year at spring training, the Crawford Era at shortstop should begin in earnest.