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One step closer: Phillies promote Crawford to Lehigh-Valley

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Considered by many baseball's top offensive prospect, J.P. Crawford is set to get his first taste of Triple-A action.

Butch Dill-USA TODAY Sports

Exciting news in the prospect world broke today as the Philadelphia Phillies promoted to J.P. Crawford to the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs. It now moves Crawford one more step closer to his big league debut, however there is no reason to expect it will be any time in the immediate future.

Crawford is has shown above average skills in traditional five-tool player mold, seemingly doing a little bit of everything very well. He's shown double-digit power in the past, despite hitting just six total over two levels last season. What's really attractive about the 21-year old Crawford is his sound plate discipline. He has actually walked more times in his career (190) than he has struck out (184).

Crawford wasn't tearing the cover off the ball at Double-A, but he wasn't showing any reason to be held there any longer either. He was slashing .265/.398/.390 with eight doubles and three home runs, displaying his keen eye by walking 30 times and striking out 21.

In the field, Crawford has been known to be a bit error prone, but that doesn't take away from his natural ability. He is both quick and armed with a a pretty solid cannon of an arm, so while he seemingly lacks focus at times, he has the skills to succeed at the big league level. There is very little reason to think that Crawford is not the Phillies shortstop of the future.

The Phillies are well ahead of schedule in their rebuilding project, actually fielding an impressive team thus far in 2016. Expect Crawford to be up this season, but likely not until the All Star Break or shortly after, unless injury strikes. Crawford should have no issues in Triple-A, so the Phillies can exhibit patience in allowing their future All Star to develop instead of rushing him to The Show.