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Saturday, June 08, 2013

J.R. Gamble: Is J.P. Crawford The Next Great Black Shortstop?

Is J.R. Gamble The Next ........

While Apel’s story is surely one to watch moving forward, 16th-overall pick, J.P. Crawford is compelling as well.

Crawford, who ranked 19th on MLB.com’s Top 100 Draft Prospects list, is the cousin of the Dodgers outfielder Carl Crawford, so you know multi-tooled dopeness is in the genes.

He’s also a rare “black” shortstop, considered by many experts to be the best middle infielder in the draft and only one of three taken in the first 20 picks.

Most great black ballplayers of late are outfielders or first baseman. Even guys who start out at shortstop, like retired all-star slugger Gary Sheffield, often get moved to another position.

Crawford’s glove game is projected to be MLB-made for short and he is interestingly another African-American stud drafted by the Phillies, who seem to have a nose for star black prospects in an era seemingly extinct of them.

From Jimmy Rollins (NL MVP in ‘07) to Ryan Howard (‘06 MVP) to recent emerging slugger Dominic Brown and now Crawford, the Phillies have the game of finding black diamonds in the rough on smash.

Crawford is confident and is already gunning for that shortstop position in Philly.” Hopefully I can learn something from (Rollins)” Crawford said, “and someday take his place.”

Slow down young grasshopper. Rollins is coming off a 23-homer season , for now maybe you guys can play together.

Regardless, it’s rare in baseball these days that you see an abundance of African-American talent at any position. It’s a future dilemma skipper Charlie Manuel surely loves to have and it’s great look for the game of baseball.

Repoz Posted: June 08, 2013 at 07:30 AM | 26 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: phillies

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   1. Yastrzemski in left. Posted: June 08, 2013 at 11:57 AM (#4464279)
Slow down young grasshopper over the last 4.5 years JR has performed just below replacement level.
   2. Steve Balboni's Personal Trainer Posted: June 08, 2013 at 12:02 PM (#4464281)
"...the Phillies have the game of finding black diamonds in the rough on smash."


I don't even know what this means, but I don't think the Phillies are looking for "black diamonds in the rough". This doesn't sound...right.
   3. DA Baracus Posted: June 08, 2013 at 12:04 PM (#4464283)
From Jimmy Rollins (NL MVP in ‘07) to Ryan Howard (‘06 MVP) to recent emerging slugger Dominic Brown and now Crawford, the Phillies have the game of finding black diamonds in the rough on smash.


Slow down young grasshopper. Two of those players were top 50 picks and another has had 5 good weeks.
   4. BDC Posted: June 08, 2013 at 12:04 PM (#4464284)
over the last 4.5 years JR has performed just below replacement level

Rollins? He hasn't been great, but I think you mean just below average, not replacement.
   5. GuyMcGuffin Posted: June 08, 2013 at 12:09 PM (#4464287)
Ian Desmond says watch the throne.
   6. BDC Posted: June 08, 2013 at 12:47 PM (#4464297)
In fact this got me thinking: how bad could a shortstop be if he hit 23 home runs? WAR sees Rollins's 2012 season as 2.4: again, not great or anything, but there are worse seasons by shortstops on good teams all the time, and he had a good offensive season for a SS: 62 walks, excellent baserunning; he's only dragged down by declining defense.

By WAR, the worst season ever for a shortstop who hit 23 or more home runs was Dale Sveum's 1987. Sveum had 25 HR and 95 RBI, but his OBP was .303, he was a poor baserunner, his defense was miserable, and a lot of guys hit home runs in 1987. He ends up with 0.6 WAR for his troubles.
   7. Edmundo got dem ol' Kozma blues again mama Posted: June 08, 2013 at 12:50 PM (#4464299)
Two of those players were top 50 picks and another has had 5 good weeks.

Ryan Howard was the 140th pick overall, 5th round. He certainly qualifies as a BDitR, if indeed there is such a thing.
   8. JJ1986 Posted: June 08, 2013 at 12:55 PM (#4464300)
He’s also a rare “black” shortstop, considered by many experts to be the best middle infielder in the draft and only one of three taken in the first 20 picks.


Two of the three shortstops taken in the top 20 (and 3 of the 5 taken in the first round) were black.
   9. Misirlou cut his hair and moved to Rome Posted: June 08, 2013 at 01:27 PM (#4464320)
By WAR, the worst season ever for a shortstop who hit 23 or more home runs was Dale Sveum's 1987. Sveum had 25 HR and 95 RBI, but his OBP was .303, he was a poor baserunner, his defense was miserable, and a lot of guys hit home runs in 1987. He ends up with 0.6 WAR for his troubles.


Sounds like a good candidate to manage the Cubs.
   10. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: June 08, 2013 at 02:26 PM (#4464340)
Even guys who start out at shortstop, like retired all-star slugger Gary Sheffield, often get moved to another position.

Isn't this true of most amateur SS who can hit? Most of your great hitters start at skilled positions b/c they are such great athletes. They move down the spectrum in the majors b/c the defensive bar is so high at SS or CF.
   11. DA Baracus Posted: June 08, 2013 at 02:31 PM (#4464342)
Ryan Howard was the 140th pick overall, 5th round. He certainly qualifies as a BDitR, if indeed there is such a thing.


Which is why I didn't mention him.
   12. Edmundo got dem ol' Kozma blues again mama Posted: June 08, 2013 at 03:35 PM (#4464374)
DA, okay, I guess. I thought you were referring to 2 out of 3 who made the majors already.

I think Brown will be solid at minimum; emerging slugger? We'll see, as you say.
   13. DA Baracus Posted: June 08, 2013 at 03:53 PM (#4464382)
I probably should said "Howard, yes, but."

Dom Brown, we'll see. I'm not betting on him.
   14. donlock Posted: June 08, 2013 at 04:20 PM (#4464396)
is the cousin of the Dodgers outfielder Carl Crawford, so you know multi-tooled dopeness is in the genes.


What does this mean?
   15. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: June 08, 2013 at 04:28 PM (#4464398)
I like Crawford as a prospect, but his chances of sticking at short seem kinda low to me. He can fly, and his hands aren't really that soft IMO.
   16. BDC Posted: June 08, 2013 at 04:59 PM (#4464420)
What does this mean?

It means he has his game on smash.
   17. "bothsidesism" word 57i66135 Posted: June 08, 2013 at 05:25 PM (#4464444)
I like Crawford as a prospect, but his chances of sticking at short seem kinda low to me. He can fly, and his hands aren't really that soft IMO.
interestingly, that is the exact opposite of everything i've heard about him.

he's supposed to be a lock to stick at SS and his speed is average, but plays up due to good instincts.


either way, i'm not a huge fan of the pick. but i do have a pretty good feeling about the rest of the draft, at least assuming that they can sign most of the guys i like.
   18. Curse of the Andino Posted: June 08, 2013 at 05:25 PM (#4464445)
Isn't this true of most amateur SS who can hit? Most of your great hitters start at skilled positions b/c they are such great athletes. They move down the spectrum in the majors b/c the defensive bar is so high at SS or CF.


Yeah, Adam Jones was an SS in the minors for a time.
   19. Walt Davis Posted: June 08, 2013 at 05:44 PM (#4464466)
Yes, if they're a HS draftee, decent prospet and throw right, they're pretty likely to be a SS on draft day. If they're a college draftee, there's a good chance they've already been moved off.

What does this mean?

1. Carl Crawford has multiple tools.

2. Having multiple tools is dope.

3. Duh, he's black, it's gotta be genetics, not the product of hard work.

   20. bobm Posted: June 08, 2013 at 07:57 PM (#4464614)
I never saw this article linked here at BTF. It is interesting IMO.

"Baseball Demographics, 1947-2012" by Mark Armour and Dan Levitt
   21. Steve Sparks Flying Everywhere Posted: June 09, 2013 at 12:04 AM (#4464746)
I mentioned it before, but J.P. and his family go to my church back home. His dad used to coach my basketball team and I umpired J.P.' s little league games back in the day. The kid comes from a great family. His mom played volleyball at Iowa State and his dad played football there, so he comes from a family of athletes. Its going to be fun to watch his career.
   22. BochysFingers Posted: June 09, 2013 at 12:11 AM (#4464748)
Did anyone else see this headline and read "Crawford the Next Great Black Shortstop" and think "I'm pretty sure Brandon's white"?
   23. Walt Davis Posted: June 09, 2013 at 02:10 AM (#4464784)
I never saw this article linked here at BTF. It is interesting IMO.

I agree. I'd like to know how they defined "Latino". I mean they say they used "skin color" (with the obvious caveats) but that doesn't really work at all for Latinos. Are they limiting that category to Latin American-born players?

Anyway, taking it at face value (ha!), the trends are interesting. By the early 60s you have about a 80/12/8 split. There is then a big surge in A-A players and decline in W such that by 1975 it is 71/19/10. Things stay there for about 10 years then the L players really take off. I knew there was a big surge but I didn't realize how big. In 86 the split is 70/18/12 and by 2000 it was 61/13/25 -- a doubling of Latin players and a "decline" in whites. Expansion maybe but there aren't particularly big jumps in the expansion years. Anyway L came in at the "expense" of W. However, since 2000, there has been a massive drop in AA to 7% with slight growth by W, L and other.

The L explosion is interesting because the decline was primarily in W at the beginning (from 70 to 63) then the decline was in AA.

The timing of the AA peak and decline are interesting. The peak for AA is about 75 to the late 80s -- the peak to retirement ages of folks born when Robinson's career began. These folks would have had at least the legend of Robinson and Mays, Aaron, Banks et al as their boyhood heroes. Of course that time period coincides with lots of stuff.

They do some positional breakdowns. I'm a bit surprised that through the mid-60s about 10% of Cs were AA. Of course that was like 4 Cs in those days. It has since declined to basically zero. IF was big originally but OF quickly took over and 60% of AA players have been OF for a very long time now.

They look at Ps by race and the increase in L overall is mirrored by pitchers (i.e. there are about 2.5 times more (% wise) than in the mid-80s. This was not the case during the AA growth -- while they were becoming a bigger proportion overall, the % of AA-pitchers (as % of all pitchers) stayed constant or even declined. In 1981, AA were about 19% overall but only about 8% of pitchers, a %age that held pretty steady from about 1960 to 1995 (and down since).

The big jump of course was in OF -- it so perfectly fits the MLB stereotype that it's almost funny ... from 10% of OF in 1955 to 40% of OF in 1965. The trend slowed but by the mid-90s, 50% of OF are AA. 30% W, 20% L ... since then W and AA have switched spots.
   24. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: June 10, 2013 at 01:14 PM (#4465876)

Two of the three shortstops taken in the top 20 (and 3 of the 5 taken in the first round) were black.


Still are, most likely.
   25. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: June 10, 2013 at 01:23 PM (#4465895)
He’s also a rare “black” shortstop, considered by many experts to be the best middle infielder in the draft and only one of three taken in the first 20 picks.


Billy Hamilton is a Top 100 prospect. Dee Gordon and Tim Beckham were both once hot prospects. Jimmy Rollins, Ian Desmond, Derek Jeter are all MLB starters and are African-American.

Is it really that rare?

Now African-American third basemen, that seems rare for some reason and I have no earthly idea why.
   26. Edmundo got dem ol' Kozma blues again mama Posted: June 10, 2013 at 02:31 PM (#4465977)
No black kid ever wanted to grow up to be Charlie Hayes?

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