J.P. Crawford’s stock continues to rise. The Phillies’ 19-year-old shortstop prospect checks in at No. 15 on ESPN scouting guru Keith Law’s midseason Top 50 (subscription req.), a huge jump from his preseason position at No. 46. As we’ve written here, it is possible that the Phillies are eyeing an infield of Crawford, 3B Cody Asche, 2B Chase Utley, and 1B Maikel Franco for sometime during the 2017 season.
Crawford’s glove is advanced enough that he could be the choice as a long-term sub if Jimmy Rollins suffers an injury next season when the Phillies are in contention (I know, I know, go ahead and snicker). Crawford has 22 games under his belt since his promotion to Class A+ Clearwater, where he is hitting .261/.330/.409 with four home runs and 20 strikeouts in 88 at-bats. Both the home runs and the strikeouts are a marked change from the 60 games he spent at Class A Lakewood this year. Crawford, a left-handed hitter, struck out 37 times and hit three home runs in 227 at bats at Lakewood.
Interestingly enough, 11 of his 20 strikeouts came in his first six games in Clearwater, while he did not hit any of his home runs during that stretch. In the 16 games since, he has four home runs and nine strikeouts in 63 at bats (to go with a .371 OBP). Small sample size, etc., but that’s an encouraging sign.