Buy ‘Em or Deny ‘Em: Will J.P. Crawford Benefit From A Fresh Start In Seattle? It’s Worth The Gamble…

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

The tear down of the Seattle Mariners continued with the trade of Jean Segura to the Phillies.  It’s an intriguing trade, with the Mariners again taking back a “bad” contract while also giving up pieces along with Segura:

The Mariners Acquired – J.P. Crawford & Carlos Santana
The Phillies Acquired – Jean Segura, Juan Nicasio & Jose Pazos

Obviously from a Seattle standpoint this trade comes down to two things.  First, can they flip Santana for another piece to further their rebuilding process (whether it’s this offseason or down the road).  Second, and more important, just what can we expect from J.P. Crawford?

He’s appeared in the Majors in 2017 & 2018, hitting .214 with 3 HR and 3 SB over 225 PA.  While he hasn’t had much hard contact (21.4% Hard%) and has struggled to a 26.2% strikeout rate, there is some promise in his underlying metrics:

  • SwStr% – 9.2%
  • O-Swing% – 22.1%
  • Oppo% – 29.8%

So his approach has been solid and he’s shown a willingness to use the entire field.  He also has shown that he needs time to adjust to a level before, as we noted last year when we ranked him as the Phillies third best prospect and gave him a “B+” grade:

Crawford got his feet wet in the Majors in September, after an underwhelming Triple-A campaign (.243 with 15 HR over 474 AB).  The numbers are masked by a slow start, as he began putting things together after the All-Star Break:

  • First Half – .211 with 6 HR
  • Second Half – .287 with 9 HR

Crawford will be 24-years old on Opening Day, so he clearly still has the time to develop.  That said if you are looking for a player with significant power or speed you are looking in the wrong direction.  That’s not to say that he’ll be void in either category, but he also won’t be among the elite producers either.  Prior to last season Rich Wilson of Prospect 361 described his power potential by saying:

He’s very athletic with premium bat speed but his swing is more geared towards contact than power.  As he fills out and gets stronger, the over-the-fence power should surface.  Last year I put the ceiling at 20 home runs; now, perhaps, I’ll dial it back a little to 15 to 18.  Regardless, it’s clearly more than what he has put up in his minor league career

He’s stolen as many as 24 bases in a season and should be able to reach the 12-15 plateau routinely.  That doesn’t make him elite, but does 15/15 with a .280+ average not sound attractive?

At this point the Mariners have no reason not to allow him time to learn at the highest level, and already having a significant number of plate appearances under his belt he could be ready to start turning the corner.  The draft day cost shouldn’t be much, so as a middle infielder (or depth option) flier he should prove to be well worth the gamble.

Sources – Fangraphs, Prospect 361

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Make sure to check out all of our 2019 projections:

Date Posted
Dylan Bundy10/22/18
Foltynewicz, Mike10/09/18
Gibson, Kyle10/29/18
Hoskins, Rhys10/16/18
Hosmer, Eric11/05/18
Wheeler, Zack10/02/18


  1. bartonrp says:

    Amongst the incumbents, who are the options to close in Seattle with Diaz, Colome and Nicasio all being shipped out of town?

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