March 14, 2016
The Phillies sent a hard-throwing right-hander and three of their most promising young position players to minor league camp on Monday morning, including the shortstop considered among baseball’s top five prospects.
J.P. Crawford, outfielders Roman Quinn and Nick Williams, and right-hander Edubray Ramos packed their bags and made the walk across the Carpenter Complex. Quinn and Ramos were optioned to Double-A Reading while Crawford and Williams were reassigned to minor league camp.
Crawford, the team’s 2013 first-round pick who only turned 21 two months ago, went 3-for-20 (.150) with three walks and three strikeouts in 11 games this spring. He could begin the season at Double-A Reading, where he arrived early last summer … unless the Phillies decide to push him and start him at Triple-A Lehigh Valley.
Either way, Crawford found his first big league camp to be a beneficial one. On Monday, he was asked what is standing in the way from making the jump from the minors to the major leagues.
“Just being consistent in the field and being consistent on offense and defense, handling my business and I know I'll be fine,” Crawford said.
Like Crawford, Quinn is one of the few Phillies prospects who was not acquired in a trade in the last 16 months. He was also grateful for his first big league camp.
“It was definitely a great experience because most of these guys had yet to see me play,” said the fleet-footed Quinn, who impressed with his defense in center field and by hitting .333 in 10 Grapefruit League games. “So it was cool to go out there and actually play for them, play for the manager and learn from the veterans. It was a good opportunity.”
A converted shortstop, Quinn showed off how quickly he’s made the adjustment to center field in the last two years, not only by using his God-gifted speed on route running but also in playing hard hit balls off the wall with ease. At the plate, he had a home run and three triples in 18 at-bats.
“I was just trying to go out there and showcase everything I have,” said the 22-year-old Quinn, the team’s second-round pick in 2011 who has had trouble staying healthy. “Hopefully I did that.”
While they were sent packing on Monday, the trio of Quinn, Crawford and Williams could be a fixture for the top half of the Phillies lineup for years to come. And possibly as soon as later this summer.
Add in catchers Jorge Alfaro and Andrew Knapp, and a growing group of pitchers that includes Jake Thompson, Zach Eflin, and Mark Appel, and the rebuilding Phillies appear to have nucleus they can build around for 2017 and beyond.
“It’s definitely exciting for the organization,” Quinn said. “To know there are a bunch of young players that can possibly be pretty good. It’s exciting. Hopefully we’ll all put in the work and get there pretty soon.”
“I think I could say that tomorrow or any day, but it’s not up to me,” said the 22-year-old Williams, who collected three extra-base hits* this weekend, including a three-run home run. “So if I’m in Triple-A the whole year, so be it. But I’ll try to force their hand as best as I can.”