Rule 5 Draft rules may keep Crawford out of Philadelphia until 2017
Phillies fans have been clamoring to see one of the best prospects in all of baseball in the every day major league line up. Unfortunately, they may have to wait until 2017 to get their wish.
It won’t be that J.P. Crawford is not ready to play at the next level. The roster status of Crawford creates a trickle-down effect in the Phillies organization, which general manager Matt Klentak may not be willing to deal with.
Because Crawford was drafted out of high school and is still extremely young, the Phillies do not have to place him on their 40-man roster and protect him from the Rule 5 Draft this winter.
With Crawford not needing Rule 5 protection, the Phillies can give a spot to one of their other valuable prospects, and keep them out of the hands of general managers at the Rule 5 Draft.
If the Phillies do bring Crawford up at some point this year, he would be placed on the 40-man roster, and the organization risks losing a player they might covet.
Last year the team protected Roman Quinn, Jimmy Cordero, and Edubray Ramos (who is now in the back-end of the bullpen) from the Rule 5 Draft by placing them on the 40-man roster. They left guys such as Carlos Tocci, Tommy Joseph, Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez, and Brock Stassi available for any team to draft.
So because of the technicalities of the Rule 5 Draft and the 40-man roster, the Phillies would be best fit to keep J.P. Crawford in Lehigh Valley to continue his development at the plate and protect another prospect.
J.P. Crawford will never be a high-percentage hitter, but the kid knows how to get on base. In 105 games between Reading and Lehigh Valley this season, he has 66 walks and 64 strikeouts. You rarely see a player have more walks then strikeouts at any level, let alone Triple-A.
Defense and plate discipline will carry him in the major leagues. He will struggle when he arrives to Philadelphia, as he does every time he makes the jump to the next level.
In his first 11 games with Lehigh Valley he hit just .195 with nine strikeouts. The next 26 games he hit .243, and the following 26 games he hit .300.
He has also only batted either lead-off or in the number two spot. The number two slot in the line-up most likely be his home, but I could see him fitting in at six and having someone drive him in to provide back of the line-up offense.
We must remember the kid is only 21, one of the youngest players at the Triple-A level. Barring injury, he will be the starting shortstop for the 2017 Phillies on Opening Day as a 22-year-old with incredible pressure to lead a starving franchise back to the promise land.
It may not be the immediate gratification Phillies fans desire, but down the road (similar to the Hellickson non-trade) this will pay off in the long-run.