Let's take a look at 10 of the most important attributes that should help to indicate what a prospect’s future might hold. Players are ranked on a scale of 1-10 by their qualities for each aspect, accumulating in a final prospect grade. Grades are based on what prospects can bring to the table from the current position they are projected to play in the major leagues.
Without further ado, let’s find out if J.P. Crawford makes the grade…
1) Baseball IQ – "One thing about J.P. besides his talent, he plays with a lot of energy and he brings his teammates up. He's always hustling on and off the field, playing the game the right way, and he has a great baseball IQ. He loves the game and basically does everything he can to help his team win." – Phillies scout Demerius Pittman. Rating: 10 out of 10.
2) Batting-Eye – Up to this point in his professional career, Crawford has kept his K:BB rate at around a 1:1 clip. That is an impressive rate, especially for a player just drafted a little over a year ago out of high school. Rating: 10 out of 10.
3) Hit-Tool – After hitting for an average over .300 in 2013, the California native currently sits at a .290 batting average on the 2014 season. J.P. has the potential to develop into a .300 hitter in the future. Rating: 9 out of 10.
4) Power – After hitting just 1 long-ball in 2013, the infield prospect has shown the potential to hit the occasional HR this year. At just 19 years old, there is still plenty of time for Crawford to develop 10-15 HR potential from the SS position. Rating: 7 out of 10.
5) Speed – This will be Crawford’s specialty. After swiping 14 bags last year, the base thief has added 23 to that total in 2014. He has been caught 10 times on the year, so an improved success rate would be welcome. Rating: 10 out of 10.
6) Body – Crawford won’t turn 20 until January of 2015. The infield prospect currently checks in at 6’2" and 180 pounds, and probably isn’t done growing. Scouts believe he has a good shot to stick at shortstop for a longtime. Rating: 10 out of 10.
7) Durability – J.P. was recently sidelined at Clearwater with a sprained left ankle. He returned after missing just a few games with 5 hits in his first 2 games back. He should be good to go going forward. Rating: 9 out of 10.
8) Ceiling – Crawford could develop into a shortstop that could provide 10-15 HR’s along with 30-40 SB’s during his prime. That sounds a lot like the player he could eventually be replacing in Jimmy Rollins. Rating: 9 out of 10.
9) Floor – At such a young age, we are still going more off of potential than anything else. With so many top SS prospects throughout the minor leagues, if Crawford doesn’t continue down the right developmental path, he could become a mediocre option at a possibly stacked position in the future. Rating: 7 out of 10.
10) Future – With the Phillies finally starting to realize they need to head in another, potentially younger direction, it will be interesting to see how long they will continue to roll with Jimmy Rollins at shortstop. Crawford won’t be ready for at least 2 more years, but when he is, he will make Phillies’ fans quickly forget they recently lost their last cornerstone shortstop. Rating: 9 out of 10.
Overall Grade: 90% - A-
Future Outlook: After spending the first half of the season in Lakewood, Crawford was promoted to High-A Clearwater in June. The Phillies could choose to send him back to High-A to begin the 2015 season, but might be tempted to push their blue-chip prospect with Double-A competition. Even if he starts back in Clearwater, he shouldn’t be there for long. With an abundance of top prospects currently at the shortstop position, Crawford is easy to forget about. But once the Carlos Correa’s, Addison Russell’s, and Francisco Lindor’s of the world start to graduate to the major leagues, Crawford is as good of a bet as any to make his way to the top of the positional rankings at SS in the minors. By the time we get to the start of the 2016 season, it wouldn’t surprise me if Crawford is considered the top SS prospect and one of the top 5 prospects in all of baseball.