J. P. Crawford
J. P. Crawford (cropped).jpg
Crawford with the Seattle Mariners in 2021
Seattle Mariners – No. 3
Shortstop / Third baseman
Born: (1995-01-11) January 11, 1995 (age 27)
Long Beach, California
Bats: Left
Throws: Right
MLB debut
September 5, 2017, for the Philadelphia Phillies
MLB statistics
(through May 1, 2022)
Batting average.257
Home runs25
Runs batted in152
Teams
Career highlights and awards

John Paul Crawford (born January 11, 1995) is an American professional baseball shortstop for the Seattle Mariners of Major League Baseball (MLB).

After growing up in Lakewood, California, Crawford attended Lakewood High School, where he achieved recognition for his athletic performance; Crawford also was considered one of the nation's best teenage baseball players. The 16th pick overall in the 2013 MLB draft, Crawford began his career with the Philadelphia Phillies as an exceptional defensive infielder and was considered the organization's top prospect for much of his rise through their minor league system. He was promoted to the major league ball club, in 2017, playing at his natural position and third base. Prior to the 2019 season, Crawford was traded to the Mariners.

Early life

Crawford was born on January 11, 1995 in Long Beach, California[1] to Larry and Beth Crawford; he has two sisters.[2] His father, a former professional Canadian football defensive back, was a four-time All-Star in the Canadian Football League (CFL) and won the Grey Cup with the BC Lions in the 1985, while Crawford's mother played collegiate volleyball.[2] Crawford's cousin, Carl Crawford, played in Major League Baseball (MLB).[3] His older sister Eliza, a softball player for California State University, Fullerton, brought the young Crawford with her to batting practices and encouraged him in his pursuits. Thereafter, Crawford was highly involved in baseball programs for urban youth in nearby Compton, including the Urban Youth Academy and Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities.[2] He grew up a Los Angeles Dodgers fan.[4]

In 2009, Crawford began attending Lakewood High School. The school's head baseball coach Spud O'Neil recalled Crawford "was 6–2 and skinny as a rail" but recognized his flair defensively, and immediately accommodated the freshman by opening a spot at shortstop—‌Crawford's natural position.[2] Crawford posted several team records; by the end of his senior year, he led in career hits (179), runs scored (162), stolen bases (73) and walks (72).[5] His talents drew the attention of the University of Southern California (USC) which offered Crawford an athletic scholarship to attend and play college baseball for the Trojans. As anticipated, however, Crawford declined the offer and elected to partake in the 2013 MLB draft.[6]

Professional baseball

Minor leagues

In 2011, during Crawford's junior year, he was evaluated by Marti Wolever, the assistant general manager of the Philadelphia Phillies.[7] The circumstances of Crawford's discovery by the Phillies are inadvertent; by Wolever's account, he first watched the shortstop while scouting another Lakewood prospect, pitcher Shane Watson, whom the Phillies selected with their first-round draft pick in the 2012 Major League Baseball draft.[7] Wolever stated in 2012 "I thought he [Crawford] was one of the best players we saw last year", and anticipated that the prospect would be ready for the major leagues in three or four years.[7] The Phillies selected Crawford in the first round of the 2013 MLB draft, 16th overall, and he signed his first professional baseball contract on June 18, worth $2.30 million.[6]

The Phillies had high expectations for Crawford—‌expectations significantly profound that the organization envisioned the prospect as the eventual long-term replacement for former MVP shortstop Jimmy Rollins.[8][9] Crawford made his first appearance as a professional ballplayer with the Gulf Coast Phillies of the Gulf Coast League (GCL) in Clearwater, Florida. Once the regular season began, he adjusted well at the plate and to professional baseball overall; in 39 games with the GCL Phillies, Crawford led the league in both batting average (.345) and on-base percentage (.443), earning him a promotion to the Single-A Lakewood BlueClaws.[10] Returning to Lakewood in 2014, attention was focused on Crawford for his improved plate discipline, as he nearly finished the season, shared with a promotion to the Clearwater Threshers, with a 1-to-1 strikeout-walk ratio. Crawford became the fixture of the Phillies' farm system, the team's number one prospect according to Baseball America for the rest of his ascent through the minor leagues.[10]

Crawford with the Reading Fightin Phils in 2016
Crawford with the Reading Fightin Phils in 2016

In 2015, Crawford's season was cut short by his first significant injury—‌a torn ligament in his left thumb.[11] Playing just 104 games, between Clearwater and the Double-A Reading Phils, he finished his season hitting .288 with six home runs, 42 RBIs and 12 stolen bases.[10][12] Crawford kept up his efforts to develop his power numbers in 2016 but by early 2017, with the Lehigh Valley IronPigs, Crawford scrambled to produce hits, batting just .175 with one home run at the end of May. Over his next 60 games Crawford returned to regular form, posting a .272 batting average and a career high 12 home runs.[13] With the Phillies' shortstop position firmly entrenched by Freddy Galvis, Crawford began starting at third base on August 20 in preparation of sharing time with Maikel Franco, who struggled throughout his fourth season in the majors.[14]

Philadelphia Phillies

2017

Opening the season with AAA Lehigh Valley, Crawford achieved YouTube immortality on July 26 with an inside-the-park home run at Coca-Cola Park (Allentown, PA), capped off with a decoy slide under the tag of Gwinnett's David Freitas. In the latter half of 2017, the Phillies had re-equipped the team with young players like Rhys Hoskins and Jorge Alfaro.[15] Phillies manager Pete Mackanin expressed interest in Crawford, hoping the prospect could play substantially before the end of the regular season. During a Phillies road trip, Crawford was promoted to the major leagues on September 5, 2017 to join the team in time for the second game in a three-game series against the New York Mets. Playing at third base in his MLB debut Crawford went 1-for-5, hitting into a fielder's choice in his first at-bat, before singling to center field in the fifth inning; the Phillies won the game 9–1.[16] Mackanin rotated Crawford between starts at shortstop, third base, and second base during the final month of the regular season. He ended the year batting .214 with six RBIs in 23 games.[17]

Crawford with the Phillies at Nationals Park in 2017
Crawford with the Phillies at Nationals Park in 2017

2018, final season with the Phillies

Freddy Galvis was traded to the San Diego Padres early in the 2017 offseason, securing Crawford's position as the Phillies' Opening Day shortstop for 2018. The team, under their new manager Gabe Kapler, focused on branding their roster with players–including Crawford in his larger role–who could "control the strike zone" and post high on-base percentages (OBP).[18] In his first 20 games, Crawford struggled at the plate–batting .190–and defensively, committing five errors in that stretch. He was placed on the 10-day disabled list (DL) on April 29 after suffering a strained right forearm.[19] He returned to the roster on June 6, sharing starts at third base with Franco.[20][21] In a game with the St. Louis Cardinals on June 19, however, Crawford was hit by a pitch, breaking his left hand and returning him to the DL.[22] After rehabbing, he struggled to find consistent playing time for the remainder of the season, limiting him to just six starts; he finished the season batting .214 with three home runs and 12 RBIs.[23]

Seattle Mariners

2019

On December 3, 2018, the Phillies traded Crawford and Carlos Santana to the Seattle Mariners in exchange for Jean Segura, James Pazos and Juan Nicasio.[24] On March 13, 2019, the Mariners optioned Crawford to AAA Tacoma Rainiers.[25] On May 10, 2019, the Mariners called up Crawford following an impressive stint in AAA, hitting a .319/.420/.457 slash line with 7 doubles, 3 home runs and 15 RBI and reaching base in all 31 games with the Rainiers. He made his Mariners debut on the same day against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park.[26] Crawford's first home run as a Mariner came off Michael Pineda against the Minnesota Twins on May 16, 2019.[27] Crawford spent the remainder of the season as the starting shortstop for Seattle, hitting .226 with 7 home runs and 46 RBI in 93 games.

2020

In 2020, Crawford batted .255/.336/.338 with two home runs, 24 RBIs and 33 runs scored in 53 games during the pandemic-shortened season. He was awarded the Gold Glove Award for the best defensive shortstop in the American League in 2020.

2021

On June 19, 2021, Crawford hit his first career grand slam off of Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Josh Fleming.[28] He finished the 2021 season batting .273/.338/.376 with 9 home runs and 54 RBIs. He led all shortstops with 222 putouts.

2022

On March 22, 2022, Crawford signed a $4.85 million contract with the Mariners, avoiding salary arbitration.[29] Then, on April 8, 2022, Crawford and the Mariners reached a 5-year $51 million contract extension.[30]

Personal

Crawford is a distant cousin of former major league baseball player, Carl Crawford.[31]

Crawford and his wife, Kathleen, got married in December 2021.[32]

References

  1. ^ Garro, Adrian (June 26, 2016). "Talking 'Game of Thrones,' determination and more with Phillies' No. 1 prospect J.P. Crawford". MLB.com.
  2. ^ a b c d Lawrence, Ryan (August 18, 2015). "J.P. Crawford: The Future". Philadelphia Daily News. Retrieved September 22, 2017.
  3. ^ Mayo, Jonathan (May 25, 2013). "High school shortstop J.P. Crawford leads way in Draft for middle infielders | MLB.com: News". Mlb.mlb.com. Retrieved June 6, 2013.
  4. ^ "Phillies top prospect J.P. Crawford has 'superstar' written all over him".
  5. ^ Werestine, Dave (June 20, 2013). "BASEBALL: Lakewood shortstop J.P. Crawford's dream includes $2.3 million bonus". Press-Telegram. Retrieved September 22, 2017.
  6. ^ a b Zolecki, Todd (June 7, 2013). "Phillies take high schooler Crawford with 16th pick". MLB.com. Retrieved September 22, 2017.
  7. ^ a b c Finger, John (June 7, 2013). "Phillies draft SS J.P. Crawford 16th overall". Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia. Retrieved September 22, 2017.[permanent dead link]
  8. ^ Lacques, Gabe (March 8, 2016). "Phillies future in the hands of top prospect J.P. Crawford". USA Today. Retrieved September 22, 2017.
  9. ^ Geib, Matt (December 10, 2014). "Phillies trade Jimmy Rollins to Dodgers". Philly.com. Retrieved December 12, 2017.
  10. ^ a b c "J.P. Crawford". Baseball America. September 22, 2017. Retrieved September 22, 2017.
  11. ^ Salisbury, Jim (October 29, 2015). "J.P. Crawford suffers thumb injury, will miss rest of AFL". Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia. Retrieved September 22, 2017.
  12. ^ Norris, Josh (October 29, 2015). "J.P. Crawford Tears UCL In Left Thumb In Arizona Fall League". Baseball America. Retrieved September 22, 2017.
  13. ^ Brookover, Bob (August 10, 2017). "Lehigh Valley's J.P. Crawford swinging blistering bat". Philadelphia Daily News. Retrieved September 22, 2017.
  14. ^ Gelb, Matt (August 20, 2017). "J.P. Crawford could come to Phillies as a third baseman". Philadelphia Daily News. Retrieved September 22, 2017.
  15. ^ Hamilton, Derik (October 1, 2017). "Turning Point? Phillies Rebuild Has Gained Steam". Philly Voice. Retrieved October 4, 2017.
  16. ^ Zolecki, Todd (September 6, 2017). "Crawford singles in MLB debut vs. Mets". MLB.com. Retrieved September 22, 2017.
  17. ^ "How This Season's Youngsters Will Fit Into the Future". RealSport 101. October 1, 2017. Retrieved October 4, 2017.
  18. ^ Breen, Matt (February 15, 2018). "J.P. Crawford arrives to Phillies spring training with a secure job and some added power". Philly.com. Retrieved March 31, 2018.
  19. ^ "Phils put J.P. Crawford on DL with forearm strain". ESPN. April 29, 2018. Retrieved May 2, 2018.
  20. ^ Lauber, Scott (June 6, 2018). "Phillies activate J.P. Crawford from disabled list, likely pushing Scott Kingery back to utility role". Philly.com. Retrieved June 8, 2018.
  21. ^ Breen, Matt (June 11, 2018). "For Phillies, batting J.P. Crawford ninth again would be a good sign". Philly.com. Retrieved June 11, 2018.
  22. ^ Salisbury, Jim (June 20, 2018). "J.P. Crawford suffers broken left hand, out 4–6 weeks". NBC Sports. Retrieved June 29, 2018.
  23. ^ Varela, Ashley (December 1, 2018). "Report: Mariners interested in J.P. Crawford". Yahoo Sports. Retrieved December 3, 2018.
  24. ^ Zolecki, Todd (December 3, 2018). "Phillies finalize trade with M's for Segura, others". MLB.com. MLB. Retrieved December 3, 2018.
  25. ^ "Mariners Option J.P. Crawford".
  26. ^ Divish, Ryan (May 10, 2019). "Mariners call up top prospects J.P. Crawford and Shed Long ahead of series vs. Red Sox". seattletimes.com. Seattle Times.
  27. ^ "Mariners' J.P. Crawford: Hits first home run as Mariner". CBS Sports. May 17, 2019.
  28. ^ "Mariners' J.P. Crawford: Launches grand slam Saturday". CBS Sports. June 20, 2021. Retrieved November 1, 2021.
  29. ^ "Arbitration Tracker For 2022". MLBTradeRumors. Retrieved March 23, 2022.
  30. ^ "Mariners sign SS Crawford to five-year contract". ESPN.com. April 8, 2022. Retrieved April 8, 2022.
  31. ^ "Carl Crawford has family connection in the draft". June 7, 2013.
  32. ^ https://www.instagram.com/p/CXeyXOlPEg6/