Phillies call up No. 4 prospect Crawford

Phillies call up No. 4 prospect Crawford

NEW YORK -- J.P. Crawford is the next Phillies prospect to get his shot.

Crawford was promoted from Triple-A Lehigh Valley on Tuesday and will join the Phillies before their game against the Mets at Citi Field. The shortstop is the Phillies' No. 4 prospect and the No. 60 prospect in baseball, according to MLBPipeline.com.

Crawford, 22, went 1-for-3 with a two-run home run in Monday's 4-3 victory over Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, which clinched a postseason berth for the IronPigs. But the Phillies' front office wants him to begin his big league education immediately, rather than participate in the International League postseason.

"Playoffs [are the] best time to play baseball, but big leagues sound a lot better," Crawford told The Morning Call in Allentown, Pa. "Been working at it since I was 5 years old."

Crawford hit .280 with 16 doubles, five triples, 13 home runs, 42 RBIs and a .904 OPS in 312 plate appearances since June 20. He walked 43 times and struck out 55 times. It was a dramatic turnaround from a troubling first half, when he hit just .194 with a .565 OPS in 244 plate appearances through June 10. It dropped him from his preseason spot as the No. 7 prospect in baseball.

Crawford recently started games at third base and second base, but his future remains at shortstop. He will play there this month and could start there Tuesday against the Mets. It is unclear if he will see time at second and third.

It is not crazy to think that Crawford could be the Phillies' Opening Day shortstop as early as next season, although it is far from a certainty. Freddy Galvis, who is a free agent following 2018, is a Gold Glove candidate. He is hitting .253 with 27 doubles, six triples, 11 home runs, 57 RBIs and a career-high .694 OPS in 571 plate appearances. He has a career-high .304 on-base percentage. Crawford had a .351 on-base percentage with the IronPigs, despite his poor start.

Phillies general manager Matt Klentak has lauded Crawford's ability to control the strike zone numerous times.

The Phillies played Galvis in center field last Wednesday, in preparation for Crawford's arrival. Manager Pete Mackanin said they simply want to move players around the field in September, but it snapped Galvis' streak of 131 consecutive games started at shortstop in the process. It also got it out of the way before Crawford's promotion, ending any potential issues or awkwardness.

"That wasn't the intent, but it's a good point," Mackanin said last week.

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