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Crawford No. 7 among shortstop prospects

Club believes he's ready to play every day in Majors
MLB.com @ToddZolecki

PHILADELPHIA -- Yes, J.P. Crawford is going to be the Phillies' shortstop on Opening Day.

Yes, he is still considered a prospect.

PHILADELPHIA -- Yes, J.P. Crawford is going to be the Phillies' shortstop on Opening Day.

Yes, he is still considered a prospect.

:: Top 10 Prospects by Position ::

MLB Pipeline ranks Crawford as the No. 7 shortstop prospect in baseball and the Phils' No. 4 prospect. He has just 27 days of service time following his promotion from Triple-A Lehigh Valley to the Phillies on Sept. 5. Position players retain rookie status until they have exceeded 130 at-bats or accumulated 45 days on the active roster, which means Crawford technically will remain a prospect until the middle of April.

But the Phillies believe he is ready to handle an everyday job in the big leagues. 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 he will find his way offensively.

The Phils are so confident they traded Freddy Galvis to the Padres last month.

Crawford also impressed the club with his defense. He played shortstop, third base and second base. He never committed an error.

Video: Crawford on learning from Major League experience

"It's likely that most of Crawford's reps will come at shortstop, but it would not surprise me at all -- at least in Spring Training -- to see him playing a few different spots," Phillies general manager Matt Klentak said recently. "Because we don't know what will happen down the line."

The Phillies could take a run at star third baseman Manny Machado next offseason, when he's scheduled to be a free agent. He has said he wants to return to shortstop. Crawford looked great at third base. There is one scenario that has Machado signing a monster contract with Philadelphia and playing shortstop, with Crawford playing third.

But first things first. Crawford needs to produce in 2018. The Phillies think he will.

Video: Top Prospects: J.P. Crawford, SS, Phillies

"I think I've got to work on getting stronger and staying with my approach," Crawford said earlier this month. "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."

Todd Zolecki has covered the Phillies since 2003, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook and listen to his podcast.

Philadelphia Phillies, J.P. Crawford