Phillies prospects Maikel Franco and J.P. Crawford have made Baseball America's Midseason Top 50 list. Crawford comes in at #23 and Franco sneaks into the last spot at #50.
Franco entered the year listed at #17 overall on the Top 100 list, but his first season in Triple-A has been a learning experience, the primary reason he dropped so many spots. Meanwhile, J.P Crawford made quite a jump on the prospect list, hopping from #78 to 23. Although Crawford has had some adjusting to do since his promotion to Advanced 'A' Clearwater, his strides made during his time with Lakewood this year definitely warranted the move on the prospect list.
Over 15 games in Clearwater, JP Crawford is hitting just .233, but the shortstop prospect is only 19 and has plenty of time to grow into a more consistent role at the plate before advancing through the higher levels of the organization. Over his last 10 games, Crawford is hitting .256 with two homers and five RBI's. He finds himself on a roster with other top prospects Roman Quinn and Aaron Nola. The Threshers are by far the poorest team in the Phillies farm system, posting an overall record of 22-61 overall. Before being promoted, JP's line with Lakewood was .295/.398/.405. He has shown plenty of patience at the plate, as he seems to walk about as much as he strikes out. This year between Lakewood and Clearwater, Crawford has struck out 53 times and walked 45 times. Defensively, he still needs some polishing, committing six errors in 68 chances thus far in Clearwater, good for a .912 fielding percentage.
I actually wrote about Franco's hot start to July yesterday. Currently the second youngest player in Triple-A, Franco began July with three consecutive multi-hit games, raising his average from .209 to .226 in the process. While some fans are calling for the top prospect to see time in the bigs now, Franco still needs time to get aquainted to Triple-A pitching before he is thrown into the fire in Philadelphia. There is no point in stunting his development to be a part of the atmosphere with the big league club. Anyways, he has only has four errors in 66 games at third base and has shown that the power is there in his bat as well, despite only having a .223 average. Over his last ten games, Franco is hitting .310 with two doubles, a triple, a homer and eight RBI's to go along with two runs scored. His multi-hit game streak was snapped at three after going 0-for-4 last night against Indianapolis during a shutout loss.
Pitching prospect Jesse Biddle has no timetable for return after the Phillies decided to give him a mental break from the game. He has still been training in Florida and has been scheduled to meet with both Roy Halladay and Jamie Moyer. Biddle was #71 on the Top 100 Propects list to start the season. He was 3-9 with a 5.03 ERA with Reading this season.
Brandon Apter, Publishing Editor for Philliedelphia.com