There is no easy task in professional sports. It’s not easy to become and remain a starting shortstop with a Major League Baseball team, especially when you are heralded as the guy replacing a legend on that club.
New York Yankees shortstop Didi Gregorious will soon find that out as he has the task of replacing Derek Jeter.
That is a topic for another day though. The guy that I have in mind will not even see the majors this season, maybe not even next season.
I’m talking about the #16 pick in the 2013 amateur draft, drafted by the Philadelphia Phillies, shortstop J.P. Crawford, who, like Gregorious, has to replace a team mainstay.
Crawford has to replace legendary shortstop Jimmy Rollins, who was drafted by the Phillies in 1996 and has been in the organization since then, receiving numerous accolades — including the most important — bringing the team their first World Series since 1980.
That is alot for Crawford to live up to. He should be up for it though.
He was ranked as the best shortstop in that 13′ draft class, even though we was not the first shortstop to be drafted — the Kansas City Royals drafted Hunter Dozier with the #8 pick, and Dozier has since been moved to third base while playing in the Royals system.
Crawford, the cousin of Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Carl Crawford, played in 131 games (4 full years) at Lakewood High School (Lakewood, CA) and accumulated a .417 average, a .512 on base percentage and stole 73 bases in 80 attempts. The amazing stat during his HS career was the fact that he only struck out 30 times — in FOUR years. Just amazing.
He only hit 3 homers at Lakewood but that is something that he has been working on during his time as a pro in the Phillies system.
After his High school career, he committed to play baseball of the University of Southern California, but was drafted by the Phils and he has moved up since signing.
He saw his first action with the Gulf Coast league in 13′ and hit .345 and was promoted to Single–A Lakewood by the end of the season, recording 11 hits in 14 games with the higher competition. He did hit only 1 HR during the 13′ season but he took a huge jump in 2014, hitting 11 total long balls splitting time with Single-A and A Advanced Clearwater.
As you can see, he has improved his power dramatically and he looks to only be getting better.
He won the Paul Owens award last season also, which is given to the best position player in the Phils’ system. He earned it by posting a .285 average, driving in 48 runs and stealing 24 bases.
He’s not just an offensive player either. The 19-year old (he turns 20 in January) is very above average with the glove playing an elite position and has all of the tools to becoming a great defender.
Well, he’s getting there. He is rated as the Phillies #1 prospect and could be in the majors before you know it considering the team is not that good right now and they currently do not have a shortstop.
Ok, technically they do in Rollins — the trade is not “official” yet — but it is only a matter of time before J-Roll is in Dodger blue and Crawford is looked upon as the savior at the position.
Raise your hand if you think Cesar Hernandez, Freddy Galvis or even young third baseman Maikel Franco are the answers at shortstop for the team.
I did not think so.
The job is just waiting for John Paul Crawford, and he is projected to be at Double-A Reading by this season, and remember that Rollins made his major league debut at age 21 in 2000 so Crawford could be in the Majors before you know it.
– Khristian Peel