J.P. Crawford, two weeks into big-league career, has been holding his own

Dodgers Phillies Baseball
Phillies rookie J.P. Crawford in a action during a baseball game against the Los Angeles Dodgers, Tuesday.

J.P. Crawford has spent two weeks in the majors, an amount of time that makes any judgments difficult, but this stay in the big leagues was driven by the Phillies’ desire to see how well he acclimated. They could make winter decisions for 2018 based upon Crawford’s play. It is not the determining factor, but it is one.

Crawford did not start Wednesday night; he has started in 13 of the team’s 15 games since his promotion. He’s started seven at third base and three apiece at second base and shortstop, his natural position.

He posted a .352 on-base percentage in his first 54 plate appearances, a rate higher than the league average of .325. But his improved power stroke has not transferred yet from triple A to the majors.

That, the Phillies believe, is something that will come with both age and experience.

“His swing is a little too long,” Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said. “But I think he’s going to correct that and I think he’s going to hit.”

That correction is something hitting coach Matt Stairs began to emphasize soon after Crawford arrived. It will be a focus in Crawford’s offseason workouts.
Crawford was hyped as a prospect because of his proficient on-base skills. A little more aggressiveness, Mackanin said, could help his slugging numbers. For now, the Phillies are content if Crawford provides the defense he has and continues to reach base.

That could lead to him filling a prominent role on next season’s team.

“You’ve got to find that right mix between being too aggressive and not aggressive enough,” Mackanin said. “And that comes with knowing the league, knowing the pitcher, what he is trying to do, knowing situations. It’s a learning experience. And as we all know, players are being rushed to the big leagues now more so than they ever have. So there is plenty of teaching to go at this level.”

Crawford started his career 1 for 11 without a walk. Since then, he’s 11 for 35 (.314) with seven walks.

Extra bases

Rhys Hoskins was the first Phillies player — rookie or not — to produce at least 43 RBIs in his first 40 games since Del Ennis in 1954. … The Phillies carried a 92-inning errorless streak into Wednesday’s game. It was their longest such streak since 2014, when they posted 108 straight errorless innings. … Chase Utley did not start Wednesday for Los Angeles. He brought the Dodgers’ lineup card to home plate before the game. … Mark Leiter Jr. will start Thursday afternoon against Dodgers righty Kenta Maeda.