No. 7: SS J.P. Crawford
No prospect has had a more precipitous fall from grace this season than J.P. Crawford. He went from being the team’s consensus No. 1 prospect and one of the top prospects in all of baseball to barely making it onto the Baseball America mid-season Top 100. BA’s editor, John Manuel, said the staff no longer considers him an impact player and several wanted him off the Top 100 altogether.
This fall has stemmed from the fact that Crawford has struggled to hit at Triple-A despite more than a full season’s worth of games. In 168 career games in Triple-A, Crawford has posted an unimpressive .233/.331/.339 slash line with eight home runs and nine stolen bases. None of those are numbers you would expect from a top-tier prospect.
This season, while Crawford has continued to struggle, there have been some bright spots still. He has doubled his home run total from last season in Triple-A in six fewer games, leading to a higher slugging percentage and OPS. Crawford is also walking more, which means his on-base percentage is higher even though his batting average is lower.
Perhaps the best sign that Crawford can bounce back is his hitting from the last month. Crawford missed two weeks with a groin injury, which he said helped clear his head and bring himself back around. Since June 20, Crawford has a .283/.383/.609 line with a 14 percent walk rate, 15 percent strikeout rate, six home runs, and 15 extra-base hits. This month of action has been Crawford’s best in Triple-A yet.
If Crawford can continue this success through the rest of 2017, he should recover some of his top prospect status. Next season Crawford will be 23 years old and on the 40-man roster because he is Rule 5 eligible this year. If he continues this recent success, he could force the team’s hand and make them decide between Freddy Galvis and Crawford as the team’s starting shortstop.