Legends On Deck

Game Of The Week: Phillies Future Hinges On Crawford

JP Crawford

The Phillies made back-to-back World Series appearances in 2008-2009; including a victory in 2008 over the Rays. That success was due in most part to a core of home grown talent that led them to five straight NL East crowns from 2007-2011. Players like Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, Jimmy Rollins and Cole Hamels–all Phillies draft picks– were the driving force behind a team that was consistently one of baseball’s best for a five-year timeframe.

However, time has caught up with many of those players and the Phillies have been a poor team for the past couple seasons. The organization is in a transitional period; one that’s attempting to usher in new talent while saying goodbye to the heroes of yesteryear. Only there isn’t much talent coming in. Whether it be poor draft choices, or failure to be big players in the international market, the Phillies cupboard looks pretty bare. ESPN’s Keith Law ranked Philadelphia’s farm system 25th before the 2015 season.

Yet there is one bright spot. A potentially huge bright spot. His name is J.P. Crawford.

The Phillies drafted Crawford in the 1st round (16th overall) of the 2013 draft out of Lakewood High School in Lakewood, CA. The now 20-year old shortstop stands 6’2, 180 pounds and is one of the best prospects in all of baseball.

The left-handed swinging Crawford has lightening quick hands at the plate, which has allowed him to post tremendous contact rates at each stop of the minors despite being one of the younger players in every league he’s played. Scouts are even more impressed with his approach at the plate and ability to make adjustments, which have lead to high on-base percentages throughout his career. Right now he doesn’t show a ton of power, but he may develop average power for the position as he fills out. Defensively Crawford is a sure bet to stay at shortstop, showing good range and quick feet to go along with a strong arm and athleticism to spare.

So while some of the Phillies old guard has already moved on (Jimmy Rollins), and the others are either waiting to leave (Hamels) or playing out their final years (Ryan Howard, Chase Utley), there’s one player who looks like he’s ready to take up the mantle for the next generation.

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Kirk is very knowledgeable of MLB's minor league system and brings a passion for writing about the stars of tomorrow. Kirk is also a contributing writer for MetsMerizedOnline and MetsMinors.net. He is a native New Yorker and lifelong Mets fan. Follow him on Twitter @KirkC_.

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