Phillies: J.P. Crawford Ranked No. 4 Shortstop Prospect by MLB.com

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Mar 6, 2016; Clearwater, FL, USA; Philadelphia Phillies shortstop J.P. Crawford (77) during the seventh inning against the New York Yankees at Bright House Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 6, 2016; Clearwater, FL, USA; Philadelphia Phillies shortstop J.P. Crawford (77) during the seventh inning against the New York Yankees at Bright House Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /
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Phillies shortstop prospect J.P. Crawford fell down MLB.com’s shortstop rankings, but he still ranks among the top five in all of baseball.

Phillies shortstop prospect J.P. Crawford had a disappointing 2016. Many expected him to reach the major-leagues, but he failed to reach that goal. His lack of performance and inability to reach the majors in 2016 has led to him falling down the rankings.

MLB.com released their top-ten shortstop rankings Wednesday, and Crawford landed at No. 4. Mike Rosenbaum of MLB.com had the following to say about Crawford:

"“The No. 16 overall Draft pick in 2013 had his production taper off between the Double-A and Triple-A levels in ’16, although he still held his own as a 21-year-old against advanced competition, showing good feel to hit, advanced on-base skills and plus defense at shortstop. Crawford may never offer much in the way of over-the-fence pop, but that shouldn’t keep him from reaching his ceiling as a top-of-the-order hitter.”"

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Coming into the 2016 season, Crawford ranked as the second-best shortstop prospect behind NL Rookie of the Year and MVP finalist Corey Seager. Once Seager graduated, he became MLB.com’s top shortstop prospect.

Now, Crawford ranks behind the Yankees’ Gleyber Torres, the Braves’ Dansby Swanson, and the Mets’ Amed Rosario. All three were behind Crawford this time last year.

Crawford split 2016 between Double-A Reading and Triple-A Lehigh Valley. In Reading, he walked more than he struck out – 59 strikeouts to 42 walks – as posted a .398 on-base percentage in 36 games. Upon promotion to Triple-A, Crawford struggled, finishing with a .647 OPS in 87 games.

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When September rolled around, Crawford was not one of the players called up to the majors. Part of the decision-making process was to use that 40-man roster spot on someone who needed Rule 5 protection this winter, but it isn’t like Crawford was making a strong case to be in Philadelphia.

Crawford is the fourth Phils prospect to rank in MLB.com’s top tens. Jorge Alfaro was their No. 3 catcher, Rhys Hoskins was their No. 9 first baseman, and Scott Kingery was their No. 7 second baseman.

Here’s what Crawford’s prospect card has to say about him:

"Scouting Grades: Hit: 60 | Power: 40 | Run: 50 | Arm: 60 | Field: 65 | Overall: 60Crawford was the first true shortstop taken in the 2013 Draft, and the fifth high school position player selected. Tim Anderson, taken from the junior college ranks one pick after Crawford, beat him to the big leagues, but Crawford, even despite lackluster numbers, still has every chance to be an elite-level impact talent at the premium position.While reaching the highest level of the Minors at a very young age, Crawford has managed to keep his advanced approach at the plate, continuing to draw a ton of walks and keep his strikeout rate low. While he makes a ton of contact, his power hasn’t really shown up yet, though there is still hope he will grow into 10-15 home run performer as he matures. Crawford also continues to display outstanding defensive skills at short. Even though he has just average speed, he has tremendous range, footwork and hands to go along with a plus arm.Crawford’s numbers should be digested with the knowledge that he’ll be just 22 for all of the 2017 season. At some point, he will need to produce, but there are no indicators to suggest he still can’t be an All-Star caliber shortstop at the big league level."

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Hopefully Crawford can bounce back in 2017, and he may very well already be graduated to the major-leagues this time next year.

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