As I previously mentioned, Prospect Mike had a large (foam) hand in what prospects I covered as rookies that could impact in 2016 fantasy baseball. I used his Midseason Top 50 Fantasy Baseball Prospects list, and asked him for input. In case you couldn’t tell from his Mike Schmidt avatar, it’s no secret he’s a Phillies fan, a phan. I mention this now because today’s prospect is J.P. Crawford, the top prospect in the Phillies system. So, I had to be a cyclops with a monocle to make sure Prospect Mike wasn’t using Liberty Bell IPA goggles when he listed Crawford high up in his prospect lists. Prospect Mike said, “Crawford should sit comfortably in the top twenty on just about every prospect list this spring. There’s 20/20 upside at shortstop and a high floor thanks to an advanced approach. The 20-year-old will likely reach the majors midsummer and a fair comparison would be Addison Russell in Chicago – albeit with a tick less power and a tick more speed. The left side of the infield in Philly is loaded with fantasy potential. Imagine, if you will, Grey’s brain, but instead of empty it’s full.” Aw, man, Mike’s mean to me! So, Crawford is a cousin of Carl Crawford, and not related to J.P. Arencibia, according to the research I did. Crawford doesn’t have his cousin’s speed or the unrelated Arencibia’s power. Crawford is a shortstop though, so immediately he becomes interesting as a fantasy commodity. How interesting is the question, which is actually a statement. Weird, right? No, you’re weird! Anyway, what can we expect from J.P. Crawford for 2016 fantasy baseball?
I mentioned Prospect Mike so heavily in the lede, because I wouldn’t have done this 2016 outlook post if he didn’t suggest it. This is admittedly my first look at Crawford and Prospect Mike lives and breathes prospects (hence his name) and maybe more so Phillies, and he believes in Crawford. I don’t really see it at this point. At least not in redraft leagues. I watched video of him and he didn’t profile to me like a top echelon bat or speedster in any respect. He was fast out of the box, but did not look blazing fast. Looked like he had gap power that would step into 12-15 homers. I don’t see twenty homers from him. Can he be a 12/25 guy? Yes. Does that have fantasy value? Indeed. Will he do that in 2016? I’m not sure we see it until 2018, honestly. In the AFL, he left with a small tear in his thumb ligament, but it’s minor. But, Part II: Back That But Up, he’s 20 years old. The Phils are going nowhere fast, so he could be called up a little after the All-Star break, but I’m having a hard time getting excited about Crawford at this point. Honestly, if he weren’t a shortstop, I likely wouldn’t have talked about him. When he’s called up, will I pick him up and tell everyone else to? Indubitably, you have nothing to lose at that point if you need a middle infidel. Will I draft him in any leagues if he has a starting job out of spring training? Yes, upside, y’all! Will I stash him if he doesn’t? Highly unlikely, and this is the scenario I envision. For 2016, I’ll give him 22/3/17/.258/8 in 220 ABs, and I think I might be being optimistic.