Player: J.P. Crawford
Drafted by: Philadelphia Phillies (No. 16 Overall)
DOB: 1/11/1995 (Age: 18)
Height/Weight: 6’2”/180 lbs
School: Lakewood (Calif.) HS
College Commitment: Southern California
Much like this year’s crop of catching prospects, the high-level middle infield talent—meaning potential Day 1 draft picks—can be counted on one hand. Of those select few players, prep shortstop J.P. Crawford stands out with the potential for four average or better tools and, more importantly, the perceived likelihood that he’ll be able to stick at the position as a professional.
A cousin of Dodgers outfielder Carl Crawford, J.P. is an impressive athlete with a projectable 6’2”, 180-pound frame. And after becoming a known commodity last season on the summer showcase circuit, the left-handed hitting shortstop has only strengthened his draft stock with a strong showing this spring at Lakewood (Calif.) High School.
Although some scouts continue to question his ability to handle shortstop at the next level, Crawford will without a doubt be drafted at the position in the first round on June 6. And while he may require an extra year or two of seasoning in the minor leagues, the final product could be well worth the wait.
Full Scouting Report
Note: Numerical scores are on the conventional 20-80 scouting scale, where 50 is average, with the current score first and projected score second.
Potential for a slightly above-average hit tool; loose wrists and forearms with quick-twitch muscles; strong core; above-average bat speed; hits off a strong front side; left-handed hitter with contact-oriented approach; swing can get long at times and barrel will drag; tends to drift toward contact with hips; improving bat-to-ball ability; laces line drives across entire field.
At best, average power potential; should have consistent pop to the gaps at maturity; will need to make significant adjustments to his weight transfer and bat path in order to hit for average power.
Good athlete with lean 6’2”, 180-pound build; speed is currently average; but can’t rule out the chance of improving a grade with the addition of strength; plays better in game settings than straight-line running.
Athleticism and quickness are on display at shortstop; smooth, fluid actions; above-average range by lengthy strides and long arm; should be able to gain additional range with a looser and more active pre-pitch setup; lower half/core can be too rigid at time of contact; room to improve regarding his first step; gets rid of the ball quickly; demonstrates body control while making plays on the run.
Plus arm strength; effortless, fast arm stroke results in accurate throws across the infield with carry; does a nice job of generating momentum toward his target with athletic footwork; aids the overall accuracy of his throws.
MLB Player Comparison: Starlin Castro
Projection: Average everyday MLB shortstop; potential No. 2 hitter if bat develops.
MLB ETA: Late 2017
Chances of Signing: 99.9 percent