Last night was the 1st round of the 2022 Amateur Player MLB Draft, and your Philadelphia Phillies were the proud owner of the #17 overall pick. Of course, the MLB Draft is not like the NFL or NBA, and while the NHL might be the most comparable, there’s still a significantly longer wait to see any of the players drafted in baseball than in any of the other major North American sports. Because of that, it might be hard to get excited for selections, but the Phillies’ recent track record in the 1st round should breed some confidence. In 2020, the Phillies selected Mick Abel (mlb.com’s #55 overall prospect) with the 15th overall selection, and in 2021, selected Andrew Painter (mlb.com’s #53 overall prospect) with the 13th overall selection. Clearly the mid-teens can yield successful results, and if that wasn’t enough, some guy named Roy Halladay went #17 overall way back in 1995. I hear he turned out alright.
As good as some recent picks have been for the Phillies, though, the MLB Draft is still largely a crapshoot, even in the 1st round. Philadelphia is still trying to find and develop a solid outfield player, with Mickey Moniak still unable to find a breakthrough at the Major League level and Adam Haseley already traded out of the organization, and in this year’s draft, they ended up taking yet another swing at filling that need. The Philadelphia Phillies ended up selecting Justin Crawford at #17, and if the last name sounds familiar to you, it should. The 6’3” lightning fast outfielder is the son of former Major Leaguer Carl Crawford, who spent 15 years in the bigs and made 4 All-Star teams as a member of the Tampa Bay Rays. Dave Dombrowski and company are hoping that Justin Crawford becomes that player as well.
So, what does the younger Crawford bring to the table? Well, most notably he brings absolutely blistering speed. He was arguably the fastest player available in the draft, and because of that speed, has many scouts believing he could be a great defensive option in Center Field. There is a chance he develops into a bona fide 5 tool player, but power doesn’t seem to be his strong suit, at least to this point in his development. However, as a high school prospect, the 18 year old still has a big frame to fill out. The most home runs his father ever hit in an MLB season was 19 back in 2010, so power doesn’t exactly run in the family, but all of his other tools project to be major league assets. The Phillies have been unable to develop outfield prospects in their history, almost to an anomalistic level, but maybe Crawford is where that trend gets broken. It’ll take a couple years to find out for sure, but at face value, this appears to be a good selection by the Phillies.