Last week, this year’s top Phillies draft pick shortstop J.P. Crawford was promoted two levels, from the Gulf Coast League to the Class A Lakewood BlueClaws. After leading the rookie level league in batting for a considerable stretch and posting a .345 average with a homer, 19 RBI and 12 stolen bases through 39 games, the 18-year-old lefty batter was offered a bigger challenge of playing in the South Atlantic League.
The move made it clear that another much hyped shortstop, Roman Quinn (2nd round, 2011), wouldn’t be able to return from his broken wrist before season’s end, but the silver lining of Crawford’s addition to the ‘Claws’ roster was certainly welcome.
Crawford, who was selected 16th overall by the Phils, stands six-foot-two and weighs about 180 pounds. He’s the third Phillies first round pick out of Lakewood High School in California to play for the Lakewood BlueClaws. The other two are catcher Travis d’Arnaud and righty pitcher Shane Watson, who is currently at home nursing a shoulder injury.
This week I had the opportunity to speak with J.P. once again (previous interview HERE). Topics included sharing good news with his long-time friend and childhood teammate Watson, the transition to the new level, advice he’s received and more. Read ahead for that quick interview.
– When I spoke with you about a month ago, you were saying that the transition to the pro’s had been an easy one for you. Now that you’ve been promoted and taken two steps, what do you feel about transitioning up two levels now?
I think I just have to get more comfortable with the team and stuff. It’s the same game. I just have to go out there and have fun.
– Do you have thoughts on the competition between the Gulf Coast League and here in the Sally League right now?
I’m loving this way better. The competition’s better and it’s more competitive here.
– What was the excitement level to get the news that you were coming here to Lakewood?
I was very excited. My coach from GCL called me and I had just woken up and he said I was going to Lakewood and I didn’t know what to do.
– What was the first phone call that you made to share the news?
– Was he still in Florida, or was he home by then?
He was home by then and he couldn’t believe it.
– When we spoke last you mentioned that Shane had shared some advise and that Jiwan James had made an impression on you, while he was around the complex in Clearwater rehabbing. Is there anyone else that’s got more experience than you that’s made any lasting impressions?
Yeah, the center fielder for the Twins named Aaron Hicks. He grew up in my area, he’s actually like an older brother to me. He was giving me advice, saying how hard it’s going to be playing every day and stuff.
– And I know you’re asked a lot about your cousin, big leaguer Carl Crawford. Has he been in touch these past couple months to help guide you along or provide advice?
He texts me and he was saying, like, “Get ready to work everyday and bust your butt everyday.”
– So, he’s kind of following you as you progress, watching box scores and everything?
Yeah, his brother is, Corey.
– Comment on what it was like joining this BlueClaws team…
I like how when I came here, they just treated me like I was here the whole time and I like how they play the game and how competitive it is here.
– You’re one of the youngest guys on this team. Mickey Morandini, your manager, has been an All-Star at the top level of this organization. Do you have any recollection of Mickey as a player?
I do not. (laughter)