Photo by Cheryl Pursell
J.P. Crawford, fresh off helping the Lehigh Valley IronPigs clinch the IL wild card, will be making his major league debut with the Phillies in New York Tuesday night. Crawford launched a first inning, two-run home run to get Lehigh Valley off to a fast start against Scranton/Wilkes-Barre in the regular season finale, helping the IronPigs to a 4-3 win.
As Crawford and his teammates were celebrating the playoff berth, the 22-year old was given the news that he was headed to New York where he would meet up with his new teammates on the Phillies.
“Playoffs are the best time to play baseball, but the big leagues sound a lot better,” said Crawford outside the IronPigs clubhouse. “I’ve been working at it since I was five, six years old. Living a dream.”
Crawford’s season was really a tale of two seasons. For the first three months of the season, Crawford hit just .203 at Lehigh Valley, but since July 1, hit .285 at Lehigh Valley, with 13 of his 15 home runs. For the season, the infield prospect produced a slash line of 15-63-.243/.351/.405. Both the 15 home runs and 63 RBI were career highs for Crawford.
While primarily playing at his usual shortstop position, the Phillies had him play six games at third base and five at second base late in the season to give the big league club the flexibility of having him play various positions once he reached the majors.
The prolonged slump was the longest of his career and he credited his teammates and the Lehigh Valley coaches with helping him to play through the tough start to the season.
“I never struggled like that,” admitted Crawford. “Fortunately, I had a good coaching staff and a great, great clubhouse. They kept my mind off it and I just played baseball.
“No one likes to struggle, but I did not give up. My dad and mom taught me way better than that. I fought through it and now I’m here.”
As for his now former teammates at Lehigh Valley, they open a best-of-five semifinal series against the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders Wednesday night at home.