Over the course of the coming weeks, Fightins.com will profile the Top 10 Prospects in the Philadelphia Phillies organization according to MLB.com. Analysts project that 9 of the Top 10 players could see time in Baseballtown during the 2015 season, making Baseballtown the place to see to witness the stars of tomorrow as they make their way to the City of Brotherly Love.
Come Opening Day 2015, the Philadelphia Phillies' lineup will be missing a longtime fixture in shortstop Jimmy Rollins, who was dealt to the Los Angeles Dodgers in December, as they embark on their rebuilding process. But his absence shouldn't be felt for long as no. 1 prospect J.P. Crawford looks to fill the gap and figures to be part of that process in the coming years.
Just 20 years old, Crawford has escalated through the Phillies minor league system since being drafted by the Phillies in the first round of the 2013 draft. In his first full professional season last season, Crawford hit .285 with 23 doubles, 11 homers, and 69 runs scored between Lakewood (A) and Clearwater (A+). His 2014 was also full of accolades such as a Futures Game selection in July and the Paul Owens Award, presented annually to the best Phillies player in the farm system. He became just the second-youngest position player to receive the award, bested only by---Jimmy Rollins.
At some point in 2015, Reading figures to be the next stop for the talented shortstop according to baseball analysts and potential Phillies star.
Crawford could be joined in Reading by fellow first round selection and no. 2 prospect Aaron Nola, who made his Double-A debut last year in the same season he was drafted by Philadelphia. Drafted out of LSU, Nola debuted last August with the Fightins and went 2-0 with a 2.62 ERA in five starts. He became the first Phillies draft pick to make it to Double-A in the same year he was drafted since Brad Brink did so in 1986.
The 21-year old comes with an impressive pedigree in college. A two-time All-American, Nola is the only pitcher in conference history to be awarded SEC Pitcher of the Year honors twice. He was also one of three finalists for the Golden Spikes Award, presented annually to the best collegiate player in the United States.
Out of the 2014 draft class, Nola "likely will be the first starter to appear in the big leagues" according to MLB.com.