J.P. Crawford is generally considered a top-five prospect in baseball, and during his brief time in spring training with the Phillies gave no one any reason to doubt that he won't day become a fixture at shortstop for the Phillies.
Which is why you shouldn't read too much into the fact that Crawford will start the season for Double-A Reading.
While many assumed Crawford would begin the 2016 season in Lehigh with the Triple-A Iron Pigs, the team's director of player development Joe Jordan said the team will start Crawford where he finished last year.
The decision makes sense. The Phillies are in no rush to push Crawford to the Majors. The most likely timeline for him to arrive in Philadelphia is as a September call-up, so that gives the team plenty of time to move him to Triple-A during the course of the season.
Remember, Crawford is just now 21 years old, playing against guys two or three years older than him. And while he had a decent season in 86 games in Reading, slashing .265/.354/.407 with a wOBA of .348 and a wRC+ of 121, seeing Double-A pitching some more could give him a ton of confidence before heading to the more advanced pitching of Triple-A.
All in all, this doesn't push back Crawford's timeline at all, and he doesn't seem perturbed by it, either (quote courtesy of CSN Philly's Corey Seidman).
"Not disappointed at at all," Crawford said. "Double A, Triple A, it's basically the same thing."
Jordan also announced outfielder Roman Quinn and catcher Jorge Alfaro will start the season in Reading, both of those assignments were expected. And Nick Williams, Andrew Knapp and Tommy Joseph will all start the season at Triple-A, again, as expected.
Don't worry fans, it won't be long until Crawford is doing things like this at Lehigh Valley, and the Philadelphia.