It has finally happened.
After a terribly slow start in AAA that had everyone worried about his long-term viability as a potential impact player, Phils shortstop prospect J.P. Crawford has earned a call-up to the big club, and will join the Phillies for their series in New York against the Mets.
Crawford’s 2017 season has been remarkable. After being promoted to the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs midway through last year as a 21-year-old, Crawford struggled mightily. In 143 games from his promotion on May 20 of last year through June 10 of 2017, when he missed 10 days with an injured groin, Crawford hit .225/.322/.293.
Baseball America famously dropped him from a preseason ranking of No. 12 all the way down to No. 92, a nosedive of 80 places, and you could see why. Crawford, still just 22, did not look like the impact prospect we all thought he’d be.
Then, after returning from his injury on June 20 this year, a different J.P. Crawford emerged. This one batted .279/.380/.513 with an .893 OPS in 70 games. He hit 13 of his 14 home runs during that stretch, and those 14 dingers doubled the 7 he hit last year in AA and AAA combined.
Crawford may have earned his call-up, but it was still a surprise. When the Iron Pigs clinched a playoff birth on Monday, it was assumed he would stay with the team throughout their postseason run. Instead, he will join the team in New York. It’s likely the team did not take him away from the Pigs in order to sit him on the bench with the Phillies.
It will be interested to see how manager Pete Mackanin deals with playing time. Crawford spent much of the last two weeks learning second and third base in order to increase his flexibility. The team is also trying to allow Freddy Galvis to play all 162 games this season, and his ability to play multiple positions could still allow for that to happen.
But Crawford is a shortstop and a darn good one. Any scenario where he’s riding the pine for multiple days at a time just so Galvis can play 162 games is unacceptable.
Regardless, Crawford’s 2017 season is both remarkable and an extremely positive development for the team’s rebuild. He joins Nick Williams, Jorge Alfaro and Rhys Hoskins as major pieces of the future already with the big league team, and hopefully they’ll be joined by Scott Kingery on Opening Day next season.
On Episode 147 of The Felske Files, host John Stolnis is joined by The Good Phight roundtable of Justin Klugh and Liz Roscher to discuss the call-up of Crawford, and to answer a slew of reader mailbag Twitter questions.
Also discussed on this week’s podcast...
- What do the Phillies do with their infield next season? Are the Phils done with Maikel Franco? If so, would they put Scott Kingery at third instead of J.P. Crawford in order to keep Cesar Hernandez? Will they trade Ceasar? Will they trade Galvis?
- How aggressive should the team be in promoting starting pitchers from within the organization next year?
- Why isn’t Jorge Alfaro getting more credit for how well he’s hitting and playing since being called up?
- If you had to give up one outfielder in a Giancarlo Stanton deal, who would you feel best about giving up, Nick Williams, Aaron Altherr or Odubel Herrera?
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