Pipeline Podcast: What's the plan for J.P Crawford?

August 25th, 2017

The following is an excerpt from this week's Pipeline Podcast, in which Tim McMaster, Jim Callis and Jonathan Mayo discuss J.P. Crawford, the Phillies' No. 4 prospect (No. 61 overall). To listen to the show in its entirety, go to the MLB Pipeline Podcast page.
McMaster: One more thing I wanted to touch on before we say goodbye for this edition of the podcast is on Sunday, the Phillies started J.P. Crawford at third base for the first time in his pro career down in Triple-A, and he continued to swing a hot bat. He was 3-for-5 in that game. He's been really good lately after a slow start to the season. September callups are coming soon. Is this an obvious kind of play to that, Jonathan? "Hey, we're going to call this guy up in September. We need to get him in the lineup somewhere at third base, so let's get his feet wet."

Mayo: I guess so. I didn't have a chance to try to talk to people in the Phillies' front office, and I think more and more you're seeing teams realize that positional flexibility is not a bad thing. He's always profiled as a shortstop long-term, this isn't a guy that's like, "Oh he can't play short." So I'm not sure what the total reasoning is behind it, other than maybe find more ways to get his bat into the lineup. He always, until this year, kind of struck me as the kind of guy that you make room for, but he really struggled for a good part of the first half of this year. And frankly, never really put up great numbers in the Minors. I was never that concerned, he was always young for the level, still is really, really young. The fact that he's started to bring the bat around, maybe they're looking sort of toward that September callup and wanting to let him continue to swing the bat so they can move him back and forth between both positions on the left side of the infield.
McMaster: Profile wise, he fits better at short, right, Jim? 
Callis: No question. I don't understand it at all, because it's not like the guy's bat is so good that for now "we've got to get the guy's bat in the lineup." If you're going to play a guy at third, maybe you play Scott Kingery at third, if the Phillies are looking for an infielder to get the bat in the lineup. But no, and what John said is exactly right. One of the best things about J.P. Crawford … is that he can really play shortstop really, really well. If you put him at third, you're losing the value he brings you at shortstop, and then I just don't see how the bat profiles at third base at all with the way he's played the last couple of years. And you mentioned, he's played better as of late, but you know, and I think if you're going to be, let's give him the benefit of the doubt, he's young. And I mean, what are you going to project him out as, Jonathan, like right now, if you're going to go on the high side? Maybe like a .270 hitter with 12 home runs a year? 
Mayo: Let's say the batter is a tiny bit better than the .270 even. Let's say it does click finally. But he's 12 to 15 homers, at best. 
Callis: And you're talking about a guy who could be a Gold Glove shortstop. I don't get that one at all, to be honest with you. I really don't.
MMcMaster: Well maybe it's a short-term move. We will certainly see. I would think with the way he's hit lately, we will definitely see him at some point in the month of September up with the Phillies. Why not?