PHILADELPHIA -- If the Phillies surprise people in 2018, it will be because multiple things broke their way.
One of those things is solid play at shortstop. Rookie J.P. Crawford will replace Freddy Galvis, whom the Phils traded to the Padres last month. Crawford, 23, hit .214 with four doubles, one triple and six RBIs in 87 plate appearances in September. He posted a .356 on-base percentage, giving the front office confidence that Crawford will find his way offensively in 2018.
Crawford, Nick Pivetta, Ben Lively and Victor Arano recently participated in MLB/MLBPA's Rookie Career Development Program. Crawford spoke about the trade that made him the Phillies' everyday shortstop.
"I love Freddy," said Crawford, the Phillies' No. 4 prospect according to MLB Pipeline. "He is one of the greatest teammates I'll ever play with. He helped me out so much when I got called up. Every day we were taking ground balls, he was helping me. I hope the best for him in San Diego."
Galvis was a National League Gold Glove Award finalist each of the previous two seasons. He posted a career-high .309 on-base percentage and a .690 OPS last year. Crawford impressed defensively in September, and the Phils believe his floor offensively should match Galvis' recent production.
In other words, they expect Crawford to at least equal Galvis' contributions this season.
But Crawford can do better than that if he applies the lessons he said he learned in September, which he believes will help him offensively.
"I think I've got to work on getting stronger and staying with my approach," Crawford said. "Not getting out of my approach and swinging for the fences and whatnot -- I think that's where I get in trouble. Be confident, don't lose sight of anything and just be yourself and have fun."