Entering this year as the widely regarded top prospect in the Phillies organization, J.P. Crawford will be taking time each week to provide insight directly from inside spring training in Clearwater, FL, right here on PhilliesNation.com.
Crawford, 20, was named the top positional prospect in two leagues (Class A South Atlantic League and Class A Advanced Florida State League) last year, when he combined, in 123 games, to post a .285 average, 11 homers, 48 RBI and 24 stolen bases. He also represented the Phils organization in the MLB All-Star Futures Game last season.
As the 2015 campaign approaches, the six-foot-two 180-pound lefty batter is expected to reach the Double-A level and continue to prove why the Phillies selected him in the first round of the 2013 draft.
In this initial installment of our weekly check-in with J.P., he shares thoughts on a variety of topics, including his exclusion from big league camp, which member of the big league roster he’s impressed by, which minor league teammate he looks up to, his coaches and more.
-Sharing his thoughts on not being invited to big league spring training…
“I mean, it’s (the team’s) decision. I’m just going to go out, where ever I am, I’m just going to try to play hard and just try to impress everybody and do my job. I didn’t have an opinion about whether or not I should be there, so I’m not going to get mad about anything.”
-Providing feedback on the coaching group he’s assigned to thus far in camp…
“I’m working with Greg Legg and (Rob) Ducey and Steve Schrenk, so it’s the Clearwater staff. I like them a lot. I mean, we’re all working on something, trying to get us to reach the same goal. It’s a lot of fun to be around a lot of people with that same goal. They’re great. They have a bunch of wisdom and they know what they’re talking about, so if they try to tell you something, you better listen, because they know what they’re doing.”
-Speaking about which Phillies personnel have addressed the minor leaguers thus far…
“We just just had the bosses, Ruben (Amaro) and Joe (Jordan) come in and talk to us on Monday. They talked about what kind of players they’re looking for: players that know how to win and players who get after it. So, it kind of fired me up and made me want to work a little bit more. It’s the same talk every year and they don’t really give any names as examples, but it gives you something to shoot for.”
-On the topic of being viewed by his coaches as a leader for his teammates-
“I think it’s a real good honor. All throughout my life, people have always looked up to me, like on my travel ball teams and on my high school team, I was a leader almost all four years, so it kind of just comes naturally to me now, so it’s just normal to me.”
-Sharing thoughts on if he’s got any teammates that he views as leaders…
“I definitely look up to Art Charles. I view him like an older brother. He’s helped me learn the ropes in this organization and has shown me around and has made me feel a lot more comfortable than I was.”
-Speaking about which big league players have left a solid impression on him…
“Chase Utley, I had dinner with him the other day. He’s a really good dude. He’s all about baseball. He’s all about being that winning type of person. He’s all types of serious, so I kind of look up to that and it just makes me want to go out there with a serious approach and work a little harder than everybody else. He’s with the same agency as me, so our agents took us out. Us and Chase d’Arnaud too, who just joined the Phillies.
I worked out a lot with him this off-season. We worked out at our high schools. We’d hit, we’d take some ground balls and get after it.”
Check back in the coming weeks for more exclusive content from J.P..