JP Crawford #6 on Baseball America’s GCL Top 20

JP Crawford came in behind Austin Meadows, Lucas Giolito, Reese McGuire, Dominic Smith, and Franklin Berreto, all of who were higher draft picks or big international signings who put up big years.

BA notes that Crawford has good hand eye coordination and plate discipline.  His swing can get loopy but there is fringe average power potential.  Crawford is an average runner with good instincts and defensive profile that should stick at SS.  Crawford’s final GCL line was 167 PAs 8 2B 3 3B 1 HR 25BB 25K and a .345/.443/.465 triple slash line.

Any information on Crawford and other GCL Phillies from the BA chat at 1:30 PM ET will be posted here as well.

Eric (Philly): How confident are you that J.P. Crawford will stick at short?
Ben Badler: True shortstop for me. Tools, athleticism and body control are all there to play the position.

Matt (Madison): What were the reports on the Phillies two 2012 international signings Jose Pujols and Deivi Grullon?
Ben Badler: Both guys are good examples of one of the challenges of evaluating guys in the GCL. They’re both good prospects, but they’re 17-year-old Dominicans in both their first year of pro ball, their first time away from home and their first time in a new country. Both players came as advertised, with Grullon’s bat probably being a little more advanced than some international scouts gave him credit for. Strong arm, good behind the plate, and a solid, contact-oriented bat with gap power. With Pujols, it’s big power, big strikeouts and a lot of similarities to Domingo Santana. We knew he was coming to the GCL to start his career and the Phillies like to push their bigger international signings pretty aggressively (just look at Carlos Tocci in the South Atlantic League), but I think a lot of teams would have left a guy with his profile in the DSL for a year. He has monster power though, so I’d like to see what he can do next year if they let him repeat that league.

John (Chicago): Aside from Giolito and Meadows, do you think any other players in the GCL will make the top 100?
Ben Badler: The top six all have a chance. That group was clearly a cut above the rest of the league, and in a thinner year, you could put any of them at No. 1 on this list.

Warren (New London): I can see that there was a lot of talent in this league (much more than in Arizona, it seems to me), but I'm still pretty surprised to see Crawford as low as 6. Is this a case of respecting the draft order pending more data, since the guys picked ahead of him all played very well also? Or were observers really less impressed with him than with Barreto (who won't stay at shortstop), McGuire (who might not hit), and Smith (love him, but he didn't hit any better than Crawford)?
Ben Badler: We had the players in the 3-6 range mixed up in just about every order possible before deciding on the final ranking, and frankly, there’s not a big gap between them. One player who repeatedly received as much praise as anyone was McGuire, both for his defense and his bat. It’s a simple swing, he has a good approach, he makes plenty of contact and uses the whole field, so if he can bring out 10-15 home runs a year, with that defense, you have an all-star catcher. But I think Smith, Barreto (who’s a year younger than all of these guys) and Crawford all have the potential to be above-average regulars too. This was just a stacked league, and those six at the top are all in the Top 100 mix.

About Matt Winkelman

Matt is originally from Mt. Holly, NJ, but after a 4 year side track to Cleveland for college he now resides in Madison, WI. His work has previously appeared on Phuture Phillies and The Good Phight. You can read his work at Phillies Minor Thoughts

36 thoughts on “JP Crawford #6 on Baseball America’s GCL Top 20

    1. plus one, I wanted smith at the draft time, but what I saw from his GCL stats I was dead wrong , He looks small and limited to one position where his smaller frame might not produce as much power as the position will require. Anything can change though Smith could end up being great for all I know

  1. If it makes anyone feel any better, Mike Rosenbaum of B/R (also runs the Golden Sombero) had Crawford as the top prospect in the GCL. I agree thogh he should be atleast higher than Smith.

    1. I don’t think the order is a huge deal. When you look at the profiles, it is pretty clear much like the draft that there is a tier that Crawford is a part of and the order is not a huge deal there.

      1. Yes, and it is common for young prospects to be rated as much on raw potential and reputation as performance in a short season league – I wouldn’t worry about it too much. Crawford is one hell of a prospect and the moment you see him play you’ll understand what all the fuss is about. There’s something very special about him and, yes, the word smooth describes it best. He’s actually a lot like Andrelton Simmons in the field – that kind of smooth.

    1. you know that is kinda what they said when he was drafted, not that fast , good def , below average bat , but a chance to stick at short, maybe all of those hits and walks in the GCL against the best competition the guy has ever faced mean nothing , is that recent? I like good ol crashburn alley’s contributors but he pretty much says exactly what scouting reports has for him on the 2-8 scale, maybe they just think alike, maybe the read each others stuff , hopefully both are wrong

      1. But did Crawford really show anything new (the GCL is also not as large a jump for him as opposed to a player from a less competitive HS league). He is really polished and smooth. He didn’t show a ton of power, he showed good defense and arm. The speed is not a weapon but he is smart. In other words he didn’t show new tools he showed that the tools were not just mere projection and that he might have a better feel for plate discipline than thought.

        I can also guarantee that Eric’s report comes based on talking to scouts and watching Crawford in person.

        1. maybe he was talking to the scouts, I dont know he also said he saw him in person so certainly that has something to do with his scouting report. not as large as a jump but a jump none the less and that was my point , aka the best day in day out competition he has seen , right ? and the guy was leading the league or close to leading the league, multiple categories , and all that from a guy who is supposed to have a well below average bat, a (3) on the 2-8 scale. that showed me something , it showed me that maybe the scouts were a little off and maybe his bat is more like a 5 now and could develop into a 6 or 7 if phillies are lucky

          1. If he says 3 that is a major league 3, it means that if you put Crawford in the majors right now he would hit like .200 and be completely overmatched. If you say current 5 you are saying that JP Crawford could step into the lineup tonight and hit somewhere around .260-.270.

            As for the scouts, the scouts in the draft coverage are amatuer scouts (exclusively covering players pre-raft) from around the league, scouts opinions you are seeing now are professional scouts who have only seen him since he signed.

            1. So the guy led or was in the top of the league in multiple categories which is pretty good for an average to below average hitter. where is the love ? and I think he showed me the ability to be an above average hitter , possible leadoff or 2, or if and big if shows some more power a possible number 3 , And also I dont remember a phillies number 1 pick in a long time doing this well right off the jump. and maybe im a little over zealous after all I did live in south philly for a while we just differ on the projection for JP time will tell I guess

            2. Jon Mayo, MLB.COM grading:
              Scouting Grades* (present/future): Hit: 3/6 | Power: 3/5 | Run: 5/5 | Arm: 6/6 | Field: 5/6 | Overall: 3/6

            3. I just don’t get the extreme negative reaction from some to any negative/honest opinion about one of our better prospects. Crawford is a very solid prospect, but he has flaws. It is the job of scouts and reviewers to observe and comment on those flaws. GCL stats are not even all that good a sign of ultimate talent. A guy can get by with a fair number of flaws, feasting on pitcher’s or hitters’ mistakes. We’ve seen guys have lousy GCL seasons and turn out fine and guys have good GCL seasons and turn out awful. The teams use GCL to observe the new players and get them some solid game experience. For the most part, the serious work on correcting the flaws in their game doesn’t begin until the first FIL after the GCL season. The team will refine their talents more in ST. We won’t really start to get a good read on how good they really are until they appear at Lakewood.

              What was said about Crawford, which was so awful or untrue? That he lacks plus speed? Nothing to contradict that assessment. That he hasn’t developed much power? Nothing in his stats to contradict that. That he is still raw as a hitter and has work to do with his footwork when hitting? That could be perfectly true, with very good eye-hand coordination and fast hands carrying him for now, or even mistake hitting contributing a lot of hits.

              Crawford is off to a nice start and I rank him in my top 3 of Phillies’ prospects, likely #2, but I accept he has flaws in his game. This reminds me of all the emotion when writers spoke of flaws in Franco’s setup and swing. The complaint was, how could he have the year he had and have a potentially significant setup/swing problem? Not at all surprising. Brown was a consensus top10 prospect in baseball and put up good numbers in the minors. He had flaws in his hitting, as well as his defense, which limited his major league effectiveness for a couple of years (well, that and the broken hamate). Ryan Howard hit a ton of HR at Reading and AAA, yet he definitely had a significant hole in his swing. He did very well in the bigs for four years, before major league pitchers started exploiting his flaws and his bat speed slid enough that he really couldn’t compensate. The defensive issues that were talked about in the minors continued in the bigs.

              Even very good prospects, especially those in GCL, who have never attended a professional FIL or ST, have flaws. Why get so emotional when some of those flaws are discussed? Isn’t it good to be able to read about them and learn what our prospects are going to have to work on to improve and make it as successful MLB players?

            4. I agree with that assessment. The great thing about Crawford is that he is exactly as advertised and then had no real trouble adjusting to pro ball. A SS that is at least average in all 5 tools and better than average in some is pretty valuable. Jimmy Rollins with a little less speed and more patience. I’d take that every day of the week.

            5. Excellent post. Having seen him play, it would seem to me that the fielding assessments and projections are light. He looks like a potential 70 fielder – can’t really comment on the arm strength. But if the fielding is as good as I think it is, the plate discipline is real and he develops average power, he’ll be one hell of a player.

            6. Yes, I agree with this, but the two areas where I tend to think that the Longenhagen piece is maybe (maybe) a little too conservative is on plate discipline and power. As for the former, obviously the level of competition needs to be taken into account, but if he indeed has/develops plus plate discipline, the profile improves significantly. And Longenhagen seems a little overly cautious about the power projection – wasn’t he the same guy who profiled his family history earlier in the season and came up with a (justifiably) optimistic take on the likelihood that he could add significant muscle? And if his lower body already is showing signs of added muscle/strength, that bodes well for the future.

              Yes, caution is needed, and I like to see reality checks like this one, but I think Catch and andy have it right – if he develops into a guy with plus defense and plus plate discipline (and maybe a somewhat plus hit tool), and is average in everything else – as a shortstop – wow, that would be a heck of a player. That’s his upside, of course, not the most likely destination, but for sure he is a heck of a prospect to dream on.

    2. I’m hoping that his BB/K ratio so far is indicative of a really good approach/eye at the plate. To me it seems like developing that skill is his best chance to become a real impact player.

      1. I agree, and I think that although “patience” doesn’t make the traditional tools list, it matters as much as any of them, and is just as much an innate ability as other tools. People talk about Crawford lacking an elite tool, but he showed elite patience in the GCL. He reminds me of Singleton in this respect.

          1. Which I COMPLETELY disagree with. What’s Adam Dunn’s hit tool? 30? 35 at best? But, his patience is off the chart. They should be tracked separately.

            1. Correct. Hit is a tool, discipline/approach is a skill (this is not always walk rate, but more having a plan at the plate and executing, whether that is an aggressive attack on specific pitches or working walks). Just like speed is a tool and baserunning is a skill. The difference in my mind is that tools are physical and skills are more mental and allow tools to play in game action.

            2. I think pitch recognition is every bit as much an innate physical skill as power or speed. And “hit” is hardly a physical tool. It’s almost too broad a concept to be useful, really.

              I think it’s helpful to distinguish between innate physical attributes (tools) that are unlikely to improve with practice, and skills that can be developed. The 5-tool framework, while helpful at times, is quite simplistic, and sometimes one must go beyond it.

            3. If I had to make a list, it would be something like this:

              Tools: Power, speed, arm (those are fine), defensive reactions/body control, hand-eye coordination, hand quickness, pitch recognition.

              Skills: Plate approach, swing mechanics, defensive mechanics, defensive positioning.

  2. ESPN posted an article (by Chris Crawford) where he lists 2013 draftees who have helped / hurt stock since the draft. Crawford was one of 3 listed as “stock up”. Since it is insider content, I will not copy/paste, but the feedback by scouts is similar to what has been posted on here (impresses on defense, better athlete than some initially thought, more range and speed than some expected, instincts). One sentence that I will copy “an everyday shortstop who can put up above average offensive numbers has upside to me.”

    For those interested, they also listed 3 who failed to impress. One was Oscar Mercado, who the article states was considered by some as the best SS prospect.

    Isn’t it nice to be on the good side of the above equation? Seems like ages since we could say that.

  3. Trying to figure out what Domnic Smith did this year, other than get draftd before JP, to be higher on the list but ok. Not a huge deal but the draft bias is funny.

    1. He had a .398 OBP on the season (while only striking out 18.5% of the time) and hit .372/.443/.526 in 22 August games. He also showed Gold Glove Defense at first base (which has value in the age of Ryan Howard-esque butchers there). The only thing missing from his game is HR power and that is the last thing to come

      1. Matt you can go ahead and agree with BA’s ranking (cause that’s what you d0) but JP’s numbers across the board were better at a premium position, which he fields above average. D. Smith is a 1B, that’s it. He needs to put up superior offensive numbers to be considered a better prospect than JP. If you want to throw out SSS and diminsh the imporance of SS statistics go ahead but don’t give me his numbers in GCL as proof he’s better than JP. That’s just ridiculous.

        1. Dude, at the GCL levels scouting and future projection is AT LEAST as and maybe MORE important than numbers. Relax. You may be right. Or, Smith might be a HOF’er. They are still teenagers.

          1. Thanks for smart reply JoeDE.
            Given the start of Phillies more recent top draft picks, I am just happy that Crawford looks good so far. I certainly do not expect him to have a Trout like rise.

            Profar was considered the best postion prospect in baseball without a tremendous hitting profile but is an excellent player with essentially no weaknesses. Crawford is years from reaching that level but his fielding appears as projected while his bat seems better.

  4. Why can’t we just say Crawford was tad better than we expected. Hi offensive approach is slightly advanced and its too soon to project power as he is still really young.

    1. I’d say his performance was a LOT better than expected. It’s just not clear how much a really good 230 PAs in rookie ball and A ball should raise his future projection.

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