More Sports:

January 06, 2016

Phillies top prospect Crawford among Spring invitees

Phillies MLB
010616_Crawford John Minchillo/AP/for PhillyVoice

Phillies top prospect J.P. Crawford hits an RBI single during the third inning of the All-Star Futures baseball game against Team World, Sunday, July 12, 2015, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/John Minchillo).

Phillies top prospect J.P. Crawford and former No. 1 overall pick Mark Appel will be in major league camp next month in Clearwater. Both were among the nine players the team announced as non-roster invitees on Wednesday.

Along with Crawford and Appel are catchers Andrew Knapp, Gabriel Lino and Logan Moore, righthanded pitchers Zach Eflin and Jake Thompson, infielder Brock Stassi and outfielder Nick Williams. Crawford, Williams and Thompson were rated the top three prospects in the Phillies farm system by Baseball Prospectus earlier this week.

Crawford, the Phillies first round pick in 2013, is widely regarded as the shortstop of the future and arguably the most important piece of the team’s rebuild. The California native hit .288 between Double-A Reading and Class A Clearwater in 2015. Crawford, who turns 21 next week, could break into the big leagues at some point this summer.

Williams and Thompson, meanwhile, were a part of the package of prospects the Phillies got from the Texas Rangers in July in the Cole Hamels trade. The 24-year-old Appel, a 6-5 righthanded pitcher, was the No.1 overall pick in the 2012 draft; he came to the Phillies last month in the trade that sent closer Ken Giles to the Houston Astros.

Phillies pitchers and catchers report to Clearwater on Feb. 17.

Follow Ryan on Twitter: @ryanlawrence21