They just can’t get them out. The two hottest players in the Phillies system are Lakewood’s J.P. Crawford who went 3 for 3 and Clearwater’s Pete Lavin who only went 4 for 5 with a homer. Both in last night’s action.
They have hit in every game so far in the month of May. Each of them has a four hit game mixed in. Crawford is hitting .459 and Lavin is hitting .464 for the month. They are doing great impersonations of Ted Williams but it is only over the first ten days in May not the entire season. For the season Crawford is hitting .339 and Lavin is at .320.
With about a quarter of the 2014 minor league season already in the books, most players have about 120 at bats. Now we can get a better picture of where they stand in terms of player development. Naysayers can not claim the usual argument of small sample size to debunk great numbers.
What has impressed me is that Crawford has hit three home runs and Levin has gone deep five times including three times over his last ten games. Crawford only hit one homer in 195 at bats split between the GCL Phillies and Lakewood last year and Lavin has never hit more than six homer in one season in his minor league career.
The age difference is a factor as well. J.P. Crawford is only 19 years old playing in the low A South Atlantic League and drafted in the first round by the Phillies last year out of high school. On the other hand, Lavin is 26 years old playing only one step higher in the High A Florida State League and drafted in the 20th round by the Phillies out of college in 2011.
Clearly, baseball scouting and player development are inexact sciences. Some players develop later than others. What will be interesting things to watch are if Crawford and Lavin can continue to play at such high levels and where will they end the season?
Already we have have seen this week highly regarded closer Ken Giles get the call-up from Reading to Lehigh Valley at the one-quarter mark of the season. Highly regarded Roman Quinn is ready to return to action at short after looking sharp in extended spring games this week. He would appear to be ticketed to play short for Clearwater which would seem to block Crawford getting a call-up in the near future.
Levin deserves the call-up to Reading ASAP but is blocked by the likes of outfielders Zach Collier who is on the 40 man roster and former first round draft pick Anthony Hewitt at AA. Controversial Tyson Gillies would seem to block Levin moving all the way to AAA but other factors could come into play. Gillies was ejected from the game for arguing a call at first in last night for Lehigh Valley. Another AAA outfielder Clete Thomas was taken out of that game with a rib injury caused by crashing into the wall to make a catch.
If we were to project the numbers for a full season, J. P. Crawford and Pete Levin would both end up hitting well over .300 with about 160 hits each. Crawford is on pace to hit at least 12 homer and Lavin 20. But the season is long and the spectacular first ten day period in May by each of them does not make a season. In any event both of them have had very special starts to the second month of the 2014 baseball season. Now let’s see where that will lead them.