A day after the best shortstop in Phillies history set the club’s all-time hits record, there is news about the team’s shortstop of the future.
Top prospect J.P. Crawford has earned a promotion from the South Atlantic League to the Florida State League. He will be in the lineup at shortstop for advanced Single A Clearwater on Wednesday night, one day after he plays in the SAL All-Star Game at Hickory, North Carolina.
In a tandem move, the Phillies have decided to convert highly regarded prospect Roman Quinn from shortstop to centerfield. Quinn has been working at the position for a few weeks while playing shortstop at Clearwater. He will become Clearwater’s centerfielder when the FSL begins the second half of its schedule Monday night.
Crawford, 19, was the Phillies’ first-round draft pick in 2013. Quinn was a second-round pick in 2011.
“Both of these guys, we feel, can be impact offensive and defensive players in the middle of the diamond,” Joe Jordan, the Phillies’ director of player development, said. “They are a big part of what we’re trying do."
Quinn, 21, drew comparisons to Jimmy Rollins, the aforementioned best shortstop in franchise history, when the Phillies drafted him in 2011. He played mostly outfield in high school, but Phillies officials thought he had the skills to play infield and began grooming him as a shortstop after he signed. The addition of Crawford to the system means Quinn can return to the outfield, where his blazing speed should be an asset.
“Roman has played well at shortstop,” Jordan said. “He understands the move, he good with it and he’s excited about it. He’s had no off days (during Clearwater’s all-star break). He’s been out there working on it every day and we’re ready to roll him out.”
Quinn, a 5-foot-10, 170-pound switch-hitter, missed significant time at Single A Lakewood with a wrist injury last season then ruptured his Achilles tendon in an offseason workout. He’s been back in Clearwater’s lineup for about a month and is 100 percent healthy.
Crawford excelled in the Gulf Coast League as an 18-year-old last summer and earned a promotion to Lakewood. He returned there in April and hit .295 with three homers, 19 RBIs, 14 steals and an .894 OPS in 60 games. Now, he’s ready for another step up the ladder as he moves toward becoming the long-range successor to Rollins at shortstop in Philadelphia.