MLB Draft: Philadelphia Phillies' Smartly Pick Shortstop J.P. Crawford

By Sean O'Brien
Philadelphia Phillies Ruben Amaro
Howard Smith–USA TODAY Sports

The Philadelphia Phillies chose Lakewood High School player J.P. Crawford (cousin of Carl Crawford) with the sixteenth overall selection in the 2013 MLB draft. (The Houston Astros made Mark Appel the first overall pick.)

Crawford is considered among the top middle-infield prospects in the country. This choice appears to be a smart one due to his superb defensive skills, strong work ethic and the age (34) of current shortstop Jimmy Rollins.

The California native’s slight frame (6-2, 175 pounds) may, or may not, be a barrier to the major leagues, as all fans know that Rollins size (5-8, 180 pounds) hasn’t hindered his career at all. If Crawford can progress as well as ‘J-Roll’, who was selected in the second round of the 1996 draft and made his major league debut in 2000, all will be well in Philadelphia sometime in the future.

Ironically, Crawford grew up playing T-ball with Shane Watson, who was the Phillies’ first selection in last year’s draft. The Phillies selected the right-handed pitcher fortieth overall in June, 2012.

Watson, who was also drafted out of Lakewood High School in California is currently pitching in the South Atlantic League for the Lakewood Blue Claws. Currently, he has a 3-5 record, a 5.26 ERA and a 1.329 WHIP through 11 starts.

In 2011, Philadelphia selected another high school player, outfielder Larry Greene (thirty-ninth overall pick) from Barrion County High, Georgia. Through 36 games this season Watson’s teammate is hitting .183, with a .556 OPS.

Follow Sean on Twitter @SeanyOB, Facebook, Google+ and read his blog Insight.

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