Phillies J.P Crawford making strides, batting ninth in lineup

J.P. Crawford Phillies

If you took a poll with Philadelphia Phillies fans and asked them who has been the biggest disappointment on the team in 2018, there would be a clear answer – shortstop J.P. Crawford.

Crawford, selected with the 16th overall pick by the Phillies in the 2013 MLB draft, hasn’t been able to find his footing quite yet in the big leagues.

In 79 at-bats this season, Crawford is batting a mere. 203 with a .276 on-base percentage. He missed all of May with a right forearm strain that sent him to the disabled list.

But since returning from the DL on June 6, Crawford has shown signs of life. Last Sunday, he went 2-for-4 from the plate and scored a run in a 4-3 Phillies win over the Milwaukee Brewers.

He’s batted 4-for-15 (.267) in six games since returning to the lineup.

“I’m feeling good,” Crawford said after the win. “The confidence never dropped. I was just having some tough breaks.”

Crawford started in place of Phillies slugger Maikel Franco at third base on Sunday. It was the fourth start in a row he got in place of Franco. Manager Gabe Kapler decided to bat him ninth, in the pitcher’s position, which ended up paying dividends for the Phillies.

“If I see my name in the lineup, at the end of the day, I’m happy I’m playing. I don’t care where I hit,” Crawford said. “Wherever they put me at, I’m going to try my hardest and help my team win a ballgame that night. Whether I’m seventh, I’m ninth, first, second, third, I don’t care where I’m at. I just want to be in the lineup every day.”

Although, Scott Kingery has been manning shortstop in place of Crawford the past month. Many see Kingery as too good of a prospect to act as a sub. Sitting Franco, who’s been struggling at the plate as of late and isn’t as strong defensively, makes the most sense.

“I’ve never been in that situation before,” Franco said of playing part-time. “I can’t tell you if it’s going to work or not. I’m not used to it because all my career, even in the minor leagues, I played every single day. When I came here I played every single day, too. I don’t know if that’s going to work. I don’t know how that’s going to go. But I’ll just try to figure it out.”

The Phillies will wrap-up their three-game series with the Colorado Rockies on Thursday. After that, they’ll face the Brewers on the road over the weekend. All games will air on NBC Sports Philadelphia.