MLB.com named Phillies shortstop J.P. Crawford the No. 7 overall shortstop prospect in baseball as they continue their series of lists by position.
MLB.com continued their series of top ten prospects by position lists Wednesday, releasing their top ten shortstop prospect rankings. Phillies shortstop J.P. Crawford made his way back onto the list at No. 7 after completely falling off at midseason.
Crawford’s 65 defense rating was the best among the shortstops in the group. He was named to the MLB Pipeline All-Defense team last week. His arm was also considered among the best in the group.
2017 was a year that could really be split in two halves for Crawford. Through June 10, he was hitting an abysmal .194 in 56 Triple-A games after hitting .243 with a .647 OPS in Triple-A to end the 2016 season.
The poor start caused Crawford to fall down many top prospects lists, with Baseball America saying he wasn’t an impact player anymore. It was just motivation for him.
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After taking a week-and-a-half long break to nurse a groin injury and regroup mentally, Crawford’s performance took off. From June 20 to the end of the minor-league season, Crawford hit 13 home runs with a .280/.381/.522 line. It was enough to warrant an end-of-season call-up, and he continued to show his trademark on-base skills with a .356 OBP.
Crawford’s MLB Pipeline profile notes his struggles but still lists why he has major-league potential:
"Crawford struggled in 2016 and in the first half of 2017 in Triple-A, but some time off led to a terrific second half and his first trip to Philadelphia. Even when he hasn’t been swinging the bat well, though, the left-handed hitting shortstop has shown tremendous patience at the plate. That continued in 2017 and Crawford carries a Minor League career on-base percentage of .367 into the 2018 season. When he’s locked in, he does show the ability to send line drives to all fields and his raw power started to show up more in 2017. While just an average runner, Crawford’s range, hands and arm all make him a plus defender at his premium position."
Jonathan Mayo wrote that Crawford has the best chance of any of the top shortstop prospects to be Rookie of the Year in 2018. After trading Freddy Galvis, the door is open for Crawford to be the Opening Day shortstop this season.
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Even though Crawford is expected to be the everyday shortstop this year, general manager Matt Klentak has said that he could still get some work at other positions: [quote via Todd Zolecki of MLB.com]
"“It’s likely that most of Crawford’s reps will come at shortstop, but it would not surprise me at all — at least in Spring Training — to see him playing a few different spots,” Phillies general manager Matt Klentak said recently. “Because we don’t know what will happen down the line.”"
MLB.com releases their Top 100 list Saturday night. There is a good chance that Crawford and several other Phils prospects wind up on the list.