Throughout the minor league season, the prospect staff here at Fake Teams will look at a number of prospects for your fantasy and dynasty teams. Some will be prospects that you'll see this year in the majors, while others are interesting targets in longer term formats. Up today is last year's top draft pick for the Phillies, shortstop J.P. Crawford.
Weight: 180 lbs.
On 40-Man Roster: No
Protect After: 2017 Season
DOB: 1/11/1995 (Age 19 Season)
Crawford was considered a candidate for a high first round draft pick coming into his senior season, and did nothing to hurt his stock after hitting .410 with 20 stolen bases and 49 runs scored at Lakewood High School in California. Baseball America ranked him as their #15 draft prospect right before the draft, and he ended up being selected by the Phillies with the #16 overall pick. He received a bonus of over $2.2 million, signing only a couple weeks after the draft.
After signing with the Phillies, Crawford was sent to their Gulf Coast League affiliate to start his professional career. In just 39 games, he hit .345/.443/.465 with a home run and 12 stolen bases, along with a 25:25 K/BB ratio. He finished up the year with Low-A Lakewood, hitting .208 with two stolen bases in 14 games.
The Scouting Report
Hit (AVG): Crawford is considered to have an advanced approach for a prospect his age, showing excellent strike zone judgment (32 BB, 35 K last year) and excellent hand-eye coordination. These tools should translate into a high batting average, and should provide additional value in OBP leagues. His speed should help him out with his average as well, as he should be helped to some infield hits with it.
Power (HR, RBI): The power potential remains the biggest downgrade for Crawford, as he is not expected to develop even average power in the future. There isn't expected to be much improvement down the line, but more likely he will have doubles power rather than home run power.
Speed (R, SB): Crawford is considered an above-average runner, and will be able to use his speed to his advantage for fantasy owners. He stole 14 bases in 53 games last year, and could end up as a 20-30 stolen base provider per season.
Defense: Crawford is considered an excellent defender, and expected long-term to stay at shortstop. His defense is good enough that it will carry him to the majors even if he ends up being a relatively weak hitter when he gets there. He also gets good marks for his baseball instincts, which help his defense play up a bit more.
When Could He Arrive?
Crawford will likely spend the full season this year at Low-A Lakewood, and seems like he could be a player that moves a level-per year. If that happens, look for him to get to Philadelphia sometime near the end of the 2017 season.
What Can He Do When He Gets There?
Crawford profiles as a leadoff-type hitter long-term, providing a high batting average with 20-30 stolen bases and high run totals, maybe a few token home runs, and a reasonable amount of RBI.
I always hesitate to give comps, but the profile itself reminds me of a poor-man's Elvis Andrus, providing high end value in three categories at a premium position. We still don't know a lot about his power will develop, which could be the difference between being at the back end of the top 10 at his position and being in the top 5 down the line. Realistically, I wouldn't expect much from the power, but the rest of the tools profile to give him better fantasy value than it appears at first glance, and is an interesting target in dynasty formats.
The Baseball Cube
The Good Phight