Keith Law Loves J.P. Crawford

I love J.P. Crawford, too, but it was still a pleasant (if not major) surprise to see one of our guys in the Top 10 of a major Top Prospect list for the first time since Dom Brown was rated #1 in BA’s mid-season just before his initial call-up to the big leagues. Law ranked Crawford #7 overall today, when he released his Top 100 prospects list, (FYI – it’s behind the paywall at ESPN). He cites what many have been listing as excellent reasons for ranking Crawford so high – his bat and power showing a little more than most expected when he was drafted, and his continuing abilities in the field.

I wouldn’t be terribly surprised to see Crawford in someone else’s Top 10, but Law has been high man on J.P. for a while, including immediately after the 2013 draft, when he praised the Phils’ draft and Crawford in particular. Figure the 20-year-old shortstop is pretty easily a consensus Top 20 prospect when all the major publications are done ranking for the year. He’s earned it in games as well as in the eyes of scouts, after putting up wOBAs of .378 and .352 in Lakewood (A-) and Clearwater (A+), with wRC+ of 132 and 119, respectively. All this while being one of the younger position players in the Sally League, and the youngest qualified bat in the Florida State League after his promotion.

For good measure, Law also ranked Aaron Nola #57 on his 51-100 list, citing his high floor and excellent command, but he left Maikel Franco off entirely. If you’ve been paying attention to sentiment around the game, the latter should not be a huge surprise. I expect Nola to make every Top 100 list this off-season, and Franco to make many of the other major lists. The only other Phillie I could see sneaking onto a Top 100 list would be Roman Quinn, based on his stellar Arizona Fall League, but don’t hold your breath.

Photo credit to Ken Inness/

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  1. Ryan

    January 29, 2015 02:54 PM

    I can’t understand how or why he would leave Franco off of this list. It defies logic. He projects to be a major league regular and doesn’t need that much more development. He tore up the winter/Arizona Fall leagues/AAA in the 2nd half and is still 22.

    • Dan K.

      January 29, 2015 04:40 PM

      Law’s never been a big believer in Franco. It’s just one man’s opinion, and the odds are on his side regardless. For any given prospect, no matter their tools, pedigree, or performance, you can say he won’t make it and 99% of the time you’ll be correct.

      If he sees anything he considers to be a fatal flaw (in this case, I’d guess his questionable plate discipline), that’s reason enough to exclude him from his top lists in most cases.

    • Framed_Ace

      January 29, 2015 05:52 PM

      Fwiw in his chat Klaw listed his concerns on Franco as being an uncertain future at third base and the plate discipline limiting his ceiling. He said he sees Franco as being a solid regular but lacks star upside to balance out the concerns.

      • Romus

        January 29, 2015 06:03 PM

        ‘plate discipline limiting his ceiling’….I wonder how KLaw described everyone’s latest favorite, Ranger;s Joey Gallo and his 34% K rate?

      • MattWinks

        January 29, 2015 07:22 PM

        @Romus Gallo doesn’t have plate discipline issues he has I swing very hard issues (and work counts really deep issues). Franco’s discipline issues manifest in really crappy contact (like all the ground balls he hit at third base in his debut). Strikeout rate is not the only hallmark of plate discipline.

        Also FWIW Gallo has never had a BB% under 9.5% and was at 20.7% and 12.4% at his two stops this year. Franco’s last two stops were at 3.4% and 5.4%

      • Barry Onyx

        January 30, 2015 02:16 PM

        Ok, but doesn’t projecting as a “solid regular” 3Ber warrant a top 100 ranking? How many of these other guys will fail to reach that? Nola projects as a 3rd starter at best, yet he’s #57.

        My point is, I will laugh at KLaw’s ignorance and foolishness as Franco becomes an All Star Game regular. I hope.

      • Romus

        January 30, 2015 02:23 PM

        Whenever one bring up BBs as a selling point to better hitting approaches…..I think of Jeremy Heredia.
        The majors are full of outstanding past and present LA players who rarelyr saw 4 balls in a count in the minors.
        However, the majors are not full of outstanding players who were above 30% Krate in the minors…LA or non-LA players

  2. Romus

    January 29, 2015 06:01 PM

    Keith Law describe Maikel Franco as something like ‘swing for power and nothing more’.

    • Romus

      January 29, 2015 06:48 PM

      I saw this Law write-up on Gallo:
      ” They’ve (Rangers) focused on guys that can be exceptional. That’s why you get Joey Gallo. I know his flaws and I’ve seen his flaws, but if he clicks, it’s a monster. He could hit 40 homers and drive in 100 runs for you. He can do so many things with his bat. That’s the kind of player the Rangers should go after.”
      ….ok Gallo has ‘flaws’, but his ‘flaws’ are less sever then Franco’s I assume!…..though Gallo k rate is approx. 34%… be frank I am not in total agreement of Keith Law’s assessment and projection for Franco

  3. nick kopke

    February 02, 2015 04:57 AM

    I would also like to see where Keith Law had Marcel Ozuna on his list several years ago. A 23 year old Miami outfielder who skipped AA and has been almost an all-star caliber player with power being hard to come by these days. Franco sure profiles similar to Ozuna or possibly even better especially if you compare their numbers in the minors and add the projectibility of it all one could say Franco’s age 20 season in advanced A and AA could project him as a 25 HR 3rd baseman with a .270-.280 average. Both hitters have a similar approach and Ozuna seems to be doing just fine. I think Law will get some criticism in the future for leaving Franco off the list. I just have a hard time swallowing the supposed logic behind it considering Franco’s age 20 season, late rally in AAA and his torrid winter league finish!!!

    • nick kopke

      February 02, 2015 04:59 AM

      Skipped AAA

    • Romus

      February 02, 2015 08:40 AM

      Nick Kopke…spot on…could not have said it better with an appropriate comp..
      KLaw says he starts his list every year from scratch….no editing from the previous year. But what he does not say is that the latest draft class’ high picks get preferential consideration…thus bumping down players from the previous list. I guess he is a high-ceiling guy all the way.
      But not to have Franco, at least, in the bottom half of the 100 is absurd.

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