‘Not-Yet-Elite 11’: Ranking of Philadelphia’s Most Promising Young Talent

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2.) SS J.P. Crawford-Phillies

Jun 12, 2013; Long Beach, CA, USA; Lakewood High shortstop J.P. Crawford poses at portrait session at Blair Field. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Once upon a time, a talented shortstop established himself as the Phillies top prospect and helped deliver the city’s only championship in the last 30+ years. Have to figure the current front office is crossing their fingers that JP Crawford can replicate Jimmy Rollins’ success in Philadelphia when he makes his arrival at the major leagues. Crawford was taken with the 16th overall pick in the 2013 MLB Entry Draft. He has since rocketed his way to the top of the organizational prospect rankings and is the highest rated player in the Phillies organization, according to multiple national outlets. Crawford is as physically gifted a player as one will find at the shortstop position and he has the potential to bring even more to the table than Rollins was capable of, given his staggering physical tools.

Crawford is substantially longer (6’2″) than Rollins, but still possesses top-end defensive potential like the Phillies all-time hits leader. He hit for a combined .285 between Single-A and High-A ball in 2014 and was poised to carry over his success into 2015 as the unquestioned top prospect in the organization. Crawford suffered an oblique injury that has since delayed the start of the much anticipated season for the hopeful shorstop of the future.

At just 20 years old, there are still areas of his game Crawford needs to work on. He had 29 errors last season and has vowed to dedicate more work to his defense as he approaches higher levels of competition. At the end of the day, while much is to be expected of Crawford at the plate, a team cannot be successful with their shortstop having fielding issues. All of that said, Crawford is being handled like the crowned jewel of the organization and they will exhibit as much patience as is necessary before finally making the call to bring him to the major leagues.

As long as injury issues don’t linger, many expect Crawford to pick up right where he left off as far as his trajectory towards the Phillies. Though Maikel Franco and Domonic Brown haven’t exactly shined under the spotlight of being the top overall prospect in the organization, Crawford has given us every reason (so far) to believe he can handle the pressure.

At just 19 years old, Crawford was the youngest position player at last year’s All-Star Future’s game. He has the benefit of a Major League pedigree and sounding board at his disposal (Crawford’s cousin is former all-star and current Dodger Carl Crawford). This is a player the Phillies can ill-afford to go off track en route to the major leagues. So far, it seems as if he may be able to buck the trend of first round position player draft picks that never become what the team envisioned when they make the pick. If that’s the case with Crawford, there’s no telling how long this period of futility could go on.