Phillies: Could J.P. Crawford follow in Alex Bregman’s footsteps?

jtown
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 05: J.P. Crawford #2 of the Philadelphia Phillies hits a single against the New York Mets during the fifth inning of a game at Citi Field on September 5, 2017 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. The hit was Carwfords first MLB hit. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 05: J.P. Crawford #2 of the Philadelphia Phillies hits a single against the New York Mets during the fifth inning of a game at Citi Field on September 5, 2017 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. The hit was Carwfords first MLB hit. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images) /
facebooktwitterreddit

Like the Phillies, the Astros also had to deal with having two starting-caliber shortstops in their system. Could Philadelphia follow their blueprint?

The Phillies have a dilemma on their hands. Their top prospect coming into this season – and potentially their top one again – in J.P. Crawford is now in the major-leagues. Fans have been waiting for the shortstop’s arrival for more than four years now since he was drafted in 2013. Shouldn’t we be excited then that Crawford is finally here?

The problem is that Crawford is blocked at shortstop by Freddy Galvis, who has been the starter there the last three seasons. He is an elite defender, leading all NL shortstops in fielding percentage. He was a Gold Glove finalist last year and very well could be again this season. His offense is questionable, but he is starting to come into his own with a .724 OPS when hitting second this season.

With Galvis most likely still being here next season and Crawford knocking on the door, something has to give. Maybe the team trades away Galvis and/or Cesar Hernandez, clearing up a spot in the middle of the infield for Crawford.

More from Phillies News

If a trade fails to occur, the Phillies could follow in another team’s footsteps to figure out the Crawford situation.

In 2015, the Houston Astros drafted LSU shortstop Alex Bregman second overall. Scouts praised his ability to make contact and drive it when he does with the potential for power. In addition, he had enough skill at shortstop to be serviceable in the major-leagues.

The issue for the Astros was that Carlos Correa won Rookie of the Year and established himself as one of the top shortstops in the game. Correa, who was drafted first overall three years before Bregman in 2012, had a firm grasp on the shortstop position for Houston.

To solve this problem, the Astros decided to move Bregman over to third base so they could keep his bat in the lineup. He has rewarded them this year with 3.1 fWAR and an .828 OPS. His defense definitely could be better, but his offense more than makes up for it.

More from That Balls Outta Here

This is the same path Philadelphia could take with Crawford. Bregman, like Crawford, was a top prospect who was a blocked at shortstop by an established starter in the majors – albeit a much better one. Moving Crawford over to third full-time could be the best option if they want to keep both Galvis and Hernandez on the field. If they like the arrangement enough, they could use it even beyond next year and retain Galvis before he hits free agency.

Of course, this option would push Maikel Franco out of the picture.

However, they won’t be missing much as Franco has been a below-average hitter the last two years and has been especially bad this year. He isn’t exactly the biggest obstacle for Crawford to overcome.

Next: Brett Myers releases new country music video

This could be the option the Phillies wind up pursuing. They may already be showing their hand as Crawford has started at third base three of the four games he has played so far, including Friday night’s matchup against the Nationals.

facebooktwitterreddit