|JP Crawford, the future shortstop of the Phillies? Photo: Press Telegram|
The Philadelphia Phillies drafted what could be a future shortstop, if he does not skip on a shot at the big leagues now in favor of a scholarship offer to USC. JP Crawford, a shortstop from Lakewood High School in Lakewood, California, was drafted by the Phillies with the 16th overall pick last night in the MLB Amateur Draft. Now Crawford must decide between entering the Phillies farm system out of high school or follow through and play some college baseball with the USC Trojans.
Crawford has some promising projections based on what I have seen from baseball people that pay way more attention to this stuff than I do. In brief, it looks like he is projected to be a solid defensive player and he may also bring some power to the line-up down the road. Chris Wheeler brought up the point last night during the game, following the draft selection, that a lot of times short stops drafted out of high school will actually grow out of the position as they get older. That is a fair point to make, although it seems most accounts are suggesting he will stay at shortstop as he comes up through the system. This, of course, if he skips out on USC. The Phillies may have to make a solid contract offer to sway him away from college baseball, so stay tuned.
Just to mention it, Jimmy Rollins has a contract that expires after the 2014 season, with an option for the 2015 season. If Crawford enters the Phillies minor league system now, he will have just a couple of years to build a major league profile. That may be rushing things just a bit even for the most optimistic of folks. As Todd Zolecki notes, Crawford is more likely to be three or four years away from a spot on the major league roster. But just keep it in mind.
The Phillies also drafted Cal catcher Andrew Knapp in the second round. From skimming some of the scouting notes this morning it looks as though Knapp is not the most defensively sound catcher but has a dependable bat. Catcher is a position the Phillies are already in pretty decent shape with in the farm system. Triple A catcher Tommy Joseph at Lehigh Valley was acquired last year in the Hunter Pence trade with the San Francisco Giants and he will likely be the next regular starting catcher after Carlos Ruiz, unless the team wants to roll with Erik Kratz. The Phillies also have Sebastian Valle at double A Reading. Having Knapp enter the system with some college experience behind him helps with the depth in the system, and given the catching stable already in the system allows him to grow at a rate that may not necessarily be blocked by those ahead of him.