J.P. Crawfords case as baseball’s top prospect

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PHILADELPHIA — The future will be everywhere this spring in Clearwater, Fla.

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The Phillies will have many of their best prospects in camp, including top prospect J.P. Crawford. MLBPipeline.com ranked the 21-year-old shortstop among the top 10 prospects in last season. He will be in the top 10 this year, too.

Making the case for the No. 1 prospect

Mon., 1/25 – Byron Buxton Jerseys, Twins

Tue., 1/26 – J.P. Crawford, Phillies

Wed., 1/27 – Lucas Giolito, Nationals

Thu., 1/28 – Corey Seager Jerseys, Dodgers

Fri., 1/29 – Julio Urias, Dodgers

But can an argument be made that Crawford should be No. 1?

Sure, why not? There are several reasons he could be the best prospect in baseball: Ryan Cook Jerseys #29

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1) He plays a premium position. Talent evaluators love to say it is important to build a strong team up the middle. It worked for the Phillies from 2007-11, when they won five consecutive National League East championships, two NL pennants and one World Series. The Phillies had Jimmy Rollins Jerseys and Chase Utley Jerseys at shortstop and second base, respectively, with Carlos Ruiz behind the plate and Shane Victorino Jerseys in center field.

Crawford is considered an above-average defender, so defensively he could be a fixture in the Phillies’ infield for years.

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2) He can hit. Consider for a second that just seven of the 19 qualified shortstops in baseball last season posted a .700 OPS or higher. Just three had a .750 OPS or higher. If Crawford hits like everybody thinks he will hit, he should immediately become one of the better shortstops in baseball. Crawford has hit a combined .290 with a .790 OPS in three Minor League seasons, already showing a knack for recognizing balls and strikes . He has walked 160 times and struck out 163 times in his Minor League career.

Many think he has the offensive talent to hit .290 to .300 in the Majors. They think his power will improve, too.

If those things happen, Crawford can live up to the hype as Rollins’ long term replacement.

Top 10 Prospects by Position

RHP – Breakdown | List

LHP – Breakdown | List

C – Breakdown | List

1B – Breakdown | List

2B – Breakdown | List

Tue., 1/26 – Third basemen

Wed., 1/27 – Shortstops

Thu., 1/28 – Outfielders

3) He can run. Crawford won’t win any stolen base titles, but he can be a threat on the bases. He has the potential to steal 15-20 bases a season, giving him another weapon in his arsenal. But he has room to grow there wholeslae jerseys. He has stolen only 50 of 74 bases (67.6 percent) in his career. That number should be near 80 percent.

4) Intangibles. The Phillies like Crawford’s intangibles. They found him to be a leader last season with Double-A Reading, which is encouraging. But will he continue those ways in the big leagues? Time will tell.

Todd Zolecki is a reporter for .com. Read his Phillies blog The Zo Zone, follow him on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of or its clubs.

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