Thursday, March 26, 2015

Crawford's Chronicles: J.P. talks about looking up to Mansolino and Rollins

JP Crawford, image- Jay Floyd
Throughout spring training, Phillies prospect J.P. Crawford has been checking in to offer his thoughts straight from Clearwater, FL.

The 20-year-old is widely considered the Phils' top prospect after the team's first round draft pick in 2013 posted a .285/.375/.406 slash line in 123 combined games at Class A Lakewood and Class A Advanced Clearwater last year in his first full pro season.

News broke today that Crawford would miss time to open the season with an oblique strain. Despite the ailment, the California native, in his exclusive weekly interview with Phillies Nation, spoke about a new focus in the Phils' developmental ranks this year, what made Philadelphia appealing to him as a child, his daily spring routine and plenty more.

Read ahead for all that Crawford had to say and click here to read previous entries in this series.

-Sharing thoughts on how things have been going in minor league camp thus far in 2015...

"We've been playing real well together. We've been playing real team baseball, which has been the goal for spring training. But our top guy says he wants us playing team baseball and wants to change it up this year and everybody's just doing their job to try to win a ball game and it's been paying off."

-That message comes straight from minor league field coordinator Doug Mansolino...

"We had orientation before we started playing other teams he brought that up and the main focus this year is just trying to win some ball games and doing all the little things that will help us to make the job easier. Everybody's taken a big part in that and it's paying off."

-More comments on Mansolino...

"I respect that guy so much. He's taught me so much since I've been in the Phillies' organization, back to when he was the infield coordinator. I have the utmost respect for that man. He's taught me a lot of things about life and baseball."

-Providing details on his daily routine at the Phils' facilities...

"I get to the field early. I do all my stretching and agilities and stuff and then go in the (batting) cage a little bit and we have our fundamental and batting practice and then it's time to play a game.

"We gotta be there by 7:30 everyday."

-Offering insight on how Philadelphia could become a second home for him...

"I love Philly. I mean growing up, just watch Jimmy Rollins play there, in the 2008 World Series and his MVP season in 2007, it seemed like a cool place to play. The fans are all about their sports there, so I've heard it's a great place to play at."

-Describing what he's heard about playing in Reading and Lehigh Valley...

"I heard it's just a mini Citizens Bank Park and the fans are all about their baseball team, so I can't wait to get our there and start playing."

-Providing feedback on how the Phillies minor leaguers' workload differs from other organizations' minor leaguers, based on what he's heard from players with other teams...

"I've talked to a couple of my friends with other teams and we work, by far, way harder than any other team around, so that's cool. It teaches us how to compete and how to win ball games with that mentality.

"I think it's the amount of conditioning and all the little things we do before the games, like fundamentals and stuff. All the drills we do with each coordinator and all the drills we do throughout the day."

-Sharing details on the first autograph he signed and what signing autographs means to him...

"I was still in high school. It was a little kid. It was two little boys and their dad. I had just got done playing and I signed a baseball card for him.

"It makes me feel good and fires me up to have little kids wanting my autograph, because when I was little, there were older people that I looked up to and I wanted their autograph and I'd want them to sign it, so I want to give that back to (the kids)."
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