The Prospects Continue Along the Development Curve
Several Phillies prospects hit a snag during the 2016 season, none more publicized than J.P. Crawford. The team’s consensus No. 1 prospect hit a wall upon reaching Triple-A Lehigh Valley, posting a meager .244/.328/.318 slash line over 87 games. His trademark plate discipline was still evident, but it was clear he struggled upon reaching the International League.
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In 2017, Crawford will still be one of the youngest players in Triple-A at 22 years old. If he can continue to stay patient at the plate, he should be able to bounce back and perform like the top-tier prospect he is.
Nick Williams and 2015 first-round pick Cornelius Randolph both saw their own struggles in 2016 as well. Williams is in camp with the major-league team as he is on the 40-man roster and he is working on his approach – or lack thereof – at the plate with hitting coach Matt Stairs. Injuries derailed Randolph’s season, and as he said last offseason, he is still growing and developing.
Meanwhile, the team hopes to see other prospects build on their success. Dylan Cozens and Rhys Hoskins have impressed manager Pete Mackanin in their time with the major-league club in spring training. It will be interesting to see if either – or perhaps even both – are able to carry over at least a portion of their ridiculous home run numbers at Double-A Reading last year to Lehigh Valley this season.