Fare Thee Well, John Paul

The long off-season of good-byes continues for IronPigs Nation.  This time, it’s an MLB trade which will remove shortstop JP Crawford from the Phillies, and as such, from the IronPigs family as well.  He was traded to the Seattle Mariners this week.

He’s long been one of our favorites around here–even when he was struggling, he was fun to watch and provided plenty of highlights and moments for the photographers to capture.  It’s tough here at AAA–the really good ones don’t spend long here before they get promoted.  The young, interesting ones sometimes flame out before they get here.  But circumstances and development can have a player here for parts of a couple seasons.  JP Crawford spent parts of three seasons here in the Lehigh Valley, from 2016-2018.  Indeed, at times he struggled.  At times he wasn’t 100% healthy–despite what he tells me in the video below.  But he was always interesting.

He also had his detractors, and at one point drew critique even on a national level due to his status as a “top prospect” within the Phillies system.  Some will now point out his .213 MLB batting average and offer to drive him to Seattle.  But I’d like to remind them that he has but 72 games of MLB experience and 225 plate appearances over two seasons due to recent injuries.  He doesn’t turn 24 until January.  It certainly could be that Seattle is over-valuing him as a prospect and betting on projection rather than performance.  But, it is a reasonable bet to make.  Crawford really hasn’t had a fair chance, yet.

(Aside:  Given the way Seattle is tearing apart their roster and that finances seem to be the common motivating thread in each of their trades, it’s also possible that they are looking at JP’s salary and ability to stash him in the minors in order to extend his controllable years.  That is, of course, despicable if it’s true.  Here’s hoping JP earns the starting shortstop job in spring training and forces their hand.)

 

Below are some memories of the JP Crawford era in Allentown:

 

The “Photo of the Year” for the 2016 season? Could be. This was a tremendous play if you want to go find the video of it. Photo: Cheryl Pursell

 

Just this past August, JP had the game-winning hit to clinch the playoffs and the division for the IronPigs–our third season in a row in the post-season, corresponding with JP’s tenure with the club. It happened on “Philly Philly” night when I unfortunately decided to go to the Reading game. Photo: Cheryl Pursell

 

JP would engage in the “jump celebration” following a victory. It wasn’t long before Cheryl caught on. I believe there are versions with Nick Williams annd with Jesmuel Valentin. This one and the one below with Scotty are my favorites. photo: Cheryl Pursell

 

This one lives on my phone’s lock screen to this day. An unusual Sunday evening affair on July 3, 2017, as Cheryl sets up the “Pigs Win” in the background and captures the facial expressions perfectly. This one also lives on the wall in the “Kram Kave” thanks to some printing and framing work by Cheryl. Perhaps my favorite IronPigs photo of all time. Photo: Cheryl Pursell

 

I believe this is the shot that preceded the cover photo above. Photo: Cheryl Pursell

 

“The Slide Heard ‘Round The World” came at the end of JP’s inside the park slam–perhaps the greatest single play in the history of Coca Cola Park. Was it a testament to JP’s hitting, running, and sliding ability? Or was it JP bailing out Dusty Wathan who never should have sent him home? We’ll save those questions for the historians and admire this shot which inspired a bobblehead. Photo: Steve Kiebach

 

Folks have been posting the video replay of the above play over the last couple days.  If you haven’t seen it, you should search it out.  I also admire Matt Provence’ somewhat subdued call of the play–one in which I would have expected him to be jumping out of the press box window!

Instead, the replay I want you to watch is one of the most incredible plays I’ve ever seen in Reading.  I was sitting in Steve’s seats when the strike-out/throw-out occurred.  JP jumps over the sliding runner and places the tag in mid-air.  One of those “I can’t believe what I just saw” kind of moments.

 

 

OK one last video with my ugly mug.  I don’t resort to the “talk about” method of interviewing, but I am guilty of giving the answer to the question right in the question from time to time.  See if you can spot it.  Oh, and of course I had to ask about his dogs.

 

 

Best wishes JP.  Keep grinding.  Perhaps we’ll meet again,

@Kram207



Categories: Kram's Korner - From the Club Level, Lehigh Valley IronPigs

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