Following a 4-3, playoff spot clinching win for the Lehigh Valley IronPigs, the Phillies have called up shortstop JP Crawford to the big leagues. Crawford, 22, has long been heralded as a top Phillies prospect since he was drafted 16th overall in the 2013 MLB draft. The Lakewood, California native moved quickly through the lower levels of the farm system, reaching Reading by early 2015 after hitting .304 in 84 games in Clearwater over 2014 and 2015. However, Crawford began to hit some bumps, hitting .265 in Reading for all of 2015 and 2016 before being called up to Lehigh Valley in 2016. Crawford struggled for the IronPigs, hitting only .244. Hopes were still high coming into this season as Crawford was still seen as the Phillies top prospect and a top-10 prospect in baseball, but his struggles deepened throughout the first few months of the season. After hitting only .203 over the first three months of the season, Crawford hit .279 in July and August and had improved power numbers with 10 doubles, 4 triples, and 12 home runs after getting 8, 2, and 2 respectively the prior three months. His late offensive surge has clearly convinced the Phillies organization that he is finally ready for the big leagues.
While Crawford’s ranking among his peers has dipped over the last year, he still has the tools to become an above average major league player. The left-handed hitter has an great plate approach as shown by his 77 walks and 95 strikeouts this season, which will help bring success to him early in his major league career. He will keep a high OBP because of this approach, and as he has shown the past couple months, he can also hit for some power. Crawford has above average defensive skills, although his numbers dipped this year for what many believe to be stemmed to his issues at the plate. His deep range and strong arm will allow him to succeed at shortstop long-term, but he may play a mix of short, second, and third with Freddy Galvis still starting and Maikel Franco’s struggles continuing.
Crawford being on the team for the last month of the season will give Phillies fans more glimpses of the teams bright future. Crawford and outfielders Aaron Altherr and Odubel Herrera will join a lineup that includes Rhys Hoskins, Cesar Hernandez and Nick Williams, giving the Phillies lineup life throughout the front of the order. Crawford has been the centerpiece of the farm system for years, and his move to the majors signifies that the Phillies youth movement is in full motion.
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