Phillies top prospect gets off to quick start, dazzles with speed in Spring Breakout

Phillies No. 4 prospect Justin Crawford didn't waste any time showing off his wheels on Saturday.

Philadelphia Phillies No. 4 prospect Justin Crawford
Philadelphia Phillies No. 4 prospect Justin Crawford / Steph Chambers/GettyImages

The Philadelphia Phillies' top prospects kicked off their inaugural Spring Breakout game on Saturday in Lakeland against the Detroit Tigers' top youngsters. One Phillies prospect got off to a particularly quick start, dazzling with his speed and helping the visitors jump out to an early lead.

Noted speedster Justin Crawford led off the game with a first-pitch infield single to Tigers third baseman Jace Jung, busting down the first base line and showing off his wheels. The Phillies No. 4 prospect didn't waste any time showing off his elite speed again, promptly and easily stealing second base during No. 8 prospect Bryan Rincon's at-bat.

Rincon grounded out, but it was productive, as Crawford's stolen base allowed him to advance to third, leaping over the ball in front of Detroit shortstop Trei Cruz. That heads-up baserunning by the 20-year-old Crawford set up the Phillies to go ahead 1-0 when No. 3 prospect Aidan Miller singled to left. Although, with Crawford's speed, he could have easily scored from second.

The lead was short-lived as Jace Jung homered off Phillies starter Mick Abel in the bottom of the inning, but Crawford's show of speed was impressive nonetheless.

Justin Crawford already becoming well-known for his speed

In an offseason survey by MLB Pipeline, MLB executives voted the Phillies' 2022 first-round pick as having the best speed tool. Pipeline also graded him as the fastest prospect in the Top 100 rankings.

In his first full season in the Phillies development system last year, Crawford, son of former MLB star Carl Crawford, slashed a healthy .332/.392/.467 in 349 at-bats split between Low- and High-A. He doesn't have much home run power yet, but he finished with three long balls, 22 doubles, eight triples, and 47 stolen bases.

The speedy defender projects as a plus center fielder, with a combination of his 75-grade run tool and 60-grade fielding. Even if he doesn't begin the 2024 season in Double-A, you can expect that he'll suit up for the Reading Fightin Phils before too long. If his development continues at this rate, the Phillies could be looking at a future MLB star in center field in the coming years.