J.P. Crawford ‘not an Impact Player Anymore,' Says Baseball America Editor

If J.P. Crawford's modest numbers at Triple A have caused you to sour on his prospect status, you're not alone. 

Baseball America editor John Manuel joined Jim Salisbury's "At the Yard" podcast this week and admitted that the outlet considered omitting Crawford altogether in its Midseason Top 100 prospects list.

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Instead, he was ranked 92nd, a drop of nearly 80 spots.

"We don't see him as an impact player anymore," Manuel said. "Just more of a high-floor, solid regular than a guy who could be a building block. I think that's fair.

"Preseason, I talked to one guy who had pro coverage of him last year in the International League and he said, 'You know, the guy just doesn't impact the baseball in any way.' And this guy had seen him when I first saw him in the Florida State League, when he did hit for power.

"The year at Triple A has been a lost year, he just doesn't drive the baseball. And you look around the big leagues, who has below-average power who's an everyday regular anymore? Very few guys, guys like (Tigers shortstop) Jose Iglesias, (Reds centerfielder) Billy Hamilton, who have grade 70-speed or defense. Or catchers. Even shortstops, at the big leagues they have some pop these days. And he doesn't."

Crawford has hit .211 with a .658 OPS this season, and in 163 games at Triple A the last two years has hit .229/.328/.324. He still works his walks, but for the most part the offense just hasn't been there. With the IronPigs, he has one extra-base hit every 21 plate appearances.

Manuel said that some in the Baseball America office wanted Crawford off the Midseadon Top 100, but Manuel thought that would be too exaggerated a drop. Just a few short years ago, Manuel was one of Crawford's bigger fans.

"Theo Epstein told me 10 years ago, 'The higher in the minor leagues you go, the more performance matters.' And the higher he's gone, the worse his performance has gotten," Manuel said. 

"I still think he can be a big-league regular, but I do have my doubts about him being an impact player. And a couple years ago, I thought this was a guy who could have solid, average power, a 15-home run guy and a slick shortstop who would get on base a lot. ... He still gets on base some, but I don't think you get respected in the big leagues if you don't drive the baseball. 

"He's lost control of the strike zone so the walk-strikeout ratio has gone a little bit sideways. I don't think he knows how to get out of this rut he's in. Hitting is hard. We definitely had several people in our office who wanted him off the 100 because they don't think he's a prospect anymore."

This is a podcast well worth listening to for anyone who follows the Phillies' farm system closely as Manuel offers some of Baseball America's opinions on numerous Phillies prospects. He's high on Rhys Hoskins, Scott Kingery, Adam Haseley and Sixto Sanchez, higher on Mickey Moniak than most, and not as confident in Dylan Cozens, Jorge Alfaro and Nick Williams.

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