Crawford to the DL Opens Up Playing Time At a High Cost
Over the weekend, J.P. Crawford made a relay throw and lost feeling in his arm. For now he is on the disabled list with a forearm strain. We should know in the next few days how long Crawford will be out for. For now Scott Kingery will be the starting shortstop and Maikel Franco will see more time at third base than he has. Coming into the season, it was said by many that the Phillies playing time issues would likely be solved by an injury, and while we all expected it, seeing one of the Phillies top prospects go down.
Losing Crawford from the lineup for Kingery should not make a big statistical difference for the Phillies. Crawford is a better theoretical defender than Kingery at shortstop. I say theoretically because Crawford has not been his normal self, especially throwing the baseball. Kingery is probably an average defender at shortstop. He has physical limitations, and he has experience limitations, but the Phillies are going to take those negatives to keep his bat in the lineup. On offense, Crawford has been hitting fine of late after a horrible start of the year. Kingery started hot, but has been in a big slump and has only started flashing signs of breaking out of it. There may be some benefit to Kingery getting more consistency in playing time and position, but it is also important to remember he is still a rookie going through adjustments, so there will be more ups and downs.
The problem in all of this is Crawford, in that we don’t know the extent right now of all of this. If this was just an isolated incident causing an injury than we have a bunch of bad throws and bad results at the plate that are still unexplained. If the injury has been longer standing and causing problems, then we have to worry about the seriousness of it. Regardless of the extent of the injury, we have to worry about the missed playing time for Crawford at such a critical time in his development.
The last player in all of this is Jesmuel Valentin who now reaches the majors for the first time. Valentin profiles to be the future version of Pedro Florimon, but given his youth he should get more starts than Florimon has, but that should only be 1 to 2 starts a week. Valentin can play almost any position on the field, with second base being his primary position. At the plate, Valentin has a great approach, but only below average power and fringe average speed.