Crawford 'feeling good at the plate'

Crawford 'feeling good at the plate'

DUNEDIN, Fla. -- It seems every Phillies prospect has had a breakout game the first few weeks of Spring Training.

J.P. Crawford had his moment Saturday afternoon in an 8-2 victory over the Blue Jays in a Grapefruit League game at Florida Auto Exchange Stadium. Crawford went 2-for-2 with two RBIs, hitting a two-out single to right field with the bases loaded in the sixth inning against Blue Jays left-hander J.P. Howell. Crawford singled again in the eighth.

"It's good. I finally executed at the plate," he said. "I helped my team get those insurance runs that we needed."

"He swung the bat well," Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said.

Crawford, 22, is the No. 6 prospect in baseball, according to MLB Pipeline. He is hitting .227 (5-for-22) with one double, three walks and two strikeouts in nine games.

A look at SS prospect Crawford

"Recently I've been swinging way too hard," Crawford said. "I've been trying to hit a home run every at-bat, basically. Today I just tried to hit the ball right back up the middle and get a base hit, and I did."

It came against Howell, too, a tough lefty. Howell is beginning his 12th big league season. Over the course of his career, left-handed hitters have hit just .229 with a .624 OPS against him.

"He's tough," Crawford said.

The Phillies are expected to make their first roster transactions sometime next week, which means players like Crawford will be headed to Minor League camp soon. Crawford is scheduled to open the season with Triple-A Lehigh Valley, but he has the chance to press Freddy Galvis with strong play.

Crawford's 3rd-inning double

"He's going to get a lot of at-bats in Triple-A and hopefully put a lot of good things together," Mackanin said. "I think this year in Triple-A -- I won't say blossom fully -- but he's going to make progress. Once you get that ball rolling then good things will happen."

"I'm feeling good at the plate right now," Crawford said. "Hopefully it'll carry on."

Extra bases

Left-hander Sean Burnett (2.70 ERA) threw 1 2/3 scoreless innings against the Blue Jays. Left-hander Cesar Ramos (2.70 ERA) allowed one run in 1 2/3 innings. Both are non-roster invitees competing for a bullpen job.

Todd Zolecki has covered the Phillies since 2003, and for since 2009. Follow him on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.