Phillies 2018 season preview: Shortstop J.P. Crawford


After an offseason trade, J.P. Crawford has taken over as the Phillies shortstop. How will he handle his first year with the gig?

With the most losses in the MLB over the last five years, most fans have preferred to focus on prospects over the underwhelming Philadelphia Phillies. While Freddy Galvis, a Gold Glove finalist, was a defensive superstar many believed he would just be a placeholder for J.P Crawford. Now following a trade to San Diego, Matt Klentak has proved that theory true by placing Crawford as the starting shortstop following his first run in the MLB.

Crawford was not extremely productive in his first 70 MLB at bats. He knocked just 15 hits for a .214 average. He showed little power with just a couple extra base hits, four double and a triple, and a singular stolen base. He did manage to draw 16 walks leading to a .356 on base percentage.

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However, Crawfod was very solid defensively. Over 23 games at second, shortstop and third base he made he made all 26 of his play opportunities. He netted six defensive runs saved between all three positions.

Few expected Crawford to come slugging out of the gate despite an aboveaverage minor league career. He hit a solid .270 in 533 career minor league games. He knocked 40 home runs alongside 93 doubles and 17 triples.

He had a career .367 OBP and was successful on 66% of stolen base attempts.

So what can be expected of Crawford coming into this season?

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He will not need to perform as a driving force offensively with big bats like Rhys Hoskins, Carlos Santana and Odubel Herrera in the lineup. He will likely play majority of the year at shortstop and could slide around once the highly anticipated Scott Kingery reaches the show. Crawfod and catcher Jorge Alfaro could be top candidates for National League Rookie of the Year.

Baseball Prospectus projects Crawford at a .239 batting average, 15 home run, 61 RBI season. Despite a rough average to start his career I highly doubt Crawford will hit below .250. I personally see him at .262 with 13 HR and believe anywhere between 57-64 RBI are reasonable.

Next: Phillies 2018 season preview: RP Tommy Hunter

The Phillies remain on the verge of Wild Card contention. A huge make or break in that possibility is based on the performance of their first-year shortstop. Crawford’s first full season has been highly anticipated, now time will tell how much Jimmy Rollins is in the young Crawford.