Prospects don’t come much more exciting than J.P. Crawford. Equipped with big-time athleticism, a premium baseball IQ, leadership qualities and all the right on-field tools, the Phillies’ top draft selection from 2013 (16th overall) is already being referred to as the future of the franchise.
Prior to the draft, Crawford posted great numbers at Lakewood High School in California, batting .432 in 25 games during his senior season and he stands as the school’s all-time leader in hits and runs scored at a school that also produced former Phillies 1st round draft choice and current Mets backstop Travis d’Arnaud.
After signing his first pro deal, Crawford joined the Phillies system and quickly proved to be among the organization’s most talented young players.
Upon making his minor league debut as an 18-year-old with the rookie level Gulf Coast League Phillies, Crawford was very impressive. He was tops in the GCL in batting for a considerable stretch and posted a .345 average with a homer, 19 RBI and 12 stolen bases through 39 games. To wrap up the regular season, the youngster was promoted up two levels to Class A full season Lakewood.
In the South Atlantic League, Crawford handled the jump well for a kid that was playing high school ball just three months earlier. Crawford sported a .208 average with a double, two RBI and two stolen bases in 14 contests.
Crawford would open the 2014 campaign back with Lakewood and showed a ton of progress. In 60 games for the BlueClaws, he sported a .295 average with three home runs, 19 RBI and 14 steals. After he was named as a Sally League All-Star, a promotion to Class A Advanced Clearwater was in order.
With the Threshers in 63 games, Crawford tallied a .275 batting average along with eight homers, 29 RBI and 10 stolen bases, en route to being named the top positional prospect in the Florida State League by Baseball America, who also recently ranked him as the number 14 prospect in all of baseball.
Also, last season, roughly 13 months after he was drafted, the California native was honored with playing in the MLB All-Star Futures Game, going 1-for-2 with a single and a stolen base for the victorious Team USA.
A cousin of big league outfielder Carl Crawford, J.P. is also very close with Twins outfielder Aaron Hicks. He credits the two more experienced players with helping him prepare mentally for the grind of a pro schedule and for what is ahead on his road to the big leagues.
With a solid six-foot-two 180-pound frame, the left-handed batting Crawford projects to add power. Currently, Crawford doesn’t knock many balls out of the park, but drives balls into the gaps with enough authority to show there’s plenty of pop to build upon. His bat speed is excellent and would be categorized as plus.
On the bases, Crawford has great speed. Featuring a lean build and long strides, he should remain a stolen base threat as he progresses toward the big leagues.
In the field, Crawford displays excellent range and delivers the ball to first base with accuracy and quickness. There’s no reason to doubt that he can become an exceptional defender at the upper levels of the sport.
Fans can expect Crawford to be taking the field as a member of the Double-A Reading Fightin Phils this season. Time of arrival in the big leagues should be anticipated no later than next season.
Look for weekly interviews with J.P. throughout spring training right here on PhilliesNation.
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