Phillies: J.P. Crawford lands on MLB Pipeline All-Defense team

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PHILADELPHIA, PA - SEPTEMBER 14: J.P. Crawford #2 of the Philadelphia Phillies fields a ground ball in the ninth inning against the Miami Marlins at Citizens Bank Park on September 14, 2017 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Phillies won 10-0. (Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - SEPTEMBER 14: J.P. Crawford #2 of the Philadelphia Phillies fields a ground ball in the ninth inning against the Miami Marlins at Citizens Bank Park on September 14, 2017 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Phillies won 10-0. (Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images) /
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Phillies shortstop J.P. Crawford landed on MLB Pipeline’s All-Defense team after they surveyed various MLB scouts and front office executives.

Since he was drafted by the Phillies back in 2013, J.P. Crawford has been lauded for two things: his plate discipline and his defense. Nearly every prospect evaluator says that Crawford’s defense is certainly above-average, if not borderline Gold Glove caliber.

It isn’t just those paying attention to the Phils that are noticing Crawford’s defense either. Jim Callis of MLB Pipeline talked to numerous front-office executives and scouts in the league, asking them the best defensive prospects at each position on the diamond.

Crawford wound up being the top defensive short prospect on the “All-Defense Team” with Callis saying the following:

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"After getting significant support when we assembled our 2016 and 2017 All-Defense Teams, he makes it this time around. Crawford’s range at shortstop belies his average speed, and his quick hands, strong arm and uncanny internal clock help him make all the plays. He moved all over the infield for the Phillies last September, looking very good at second and third base for someone with little experience at either position, but is their unquestioned shortstop after they traded Freddy Galvis to the Padres.“He’s very advanced at a premium position,” a pro scout with an AL club said.“There are others with better tools at shortstop, but this guy can really play the position and his tools are still plenty good. His feel for shortstop, secondary tools and defensive intangibles help separate him from others.”"

In addition to being named the top defensive shortstop prospect, his name was even brought up in the conversation for the best defensive prospect overall. Crawford was one of just three prospects to receive multiple votes for the honor, with Washington’s Victor Robles ultimately being named the best defensive prospect.

While Crawford is certainly a strong defender, he has some big shoes to fill this year. As mentioned by Callis, he is set to be the starter this season after Philadelphia traded away Freddt Galvis, their starting shortstop the last three seasons and longest-tenured player.

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Galvis was a Gold Glove finalist each of the last two seasons. Only Brandon Crawford of the Giants added more value defensively than Galvis at shortstop in the National League the last three years. He routinely made plays that other shortstops would balk at. Not to mention, he was viewed as a leader in the clubhouse after spending parts of six seasons in the majors in Philadlephia.

Crawford knows what lies ahead for him this year and told Todd Zolecki of MLB.com that he learned a lot from Galvis after being called up last September:

"“I love Freddy,” said Crawford, the Phillies’ No. 4 prospect according to MLB Pipeline. “He is one of the greatest teammates I’ll ever play with. He helped me out so much when I got called up. Every day we were taking ground balls, he was helping me. I hope the best for him in San Diego.”"

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2018 will be the first time we will get an extended look at Crawford at shortstop. There may be some growing pains mixed in, but we should still see him make some Galvis-like plays as the year goes on. If so many other people from outside the organization feel so confident in Crawford, fans should too.

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