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J.P. Crawford promoted to triple A

J.P. Crawford — the Phillies’ No. 1 prospect — is just one step away from the major leagues after he was promoted on Friday morning to triple-A Lehigh Valley.

J.P. Crawford — the Phillies' No. 1 prospect — is just one step away from the major leagues after he was promoted on Friday morning to triple-A Lehigh Valley.

The Phillies had seen enough of the touted shortstop at double A, where he had 571 plate appearances over two seasons. Crawford, who turned 21 in January, is the second-youngest player in the International League. Each step to the majors presents a new challenge, and in triple A Crawford's plate discipline will be tested against older, experienced pitchers.

"The older pitchers are going to find out if you'll get yourself out and they'll let you if you will," said Joe Jordan, the team's director of player development. "I just really believe that this kid knows what he's doing in the batter's box. He'll just be himself, hit the ball on the line, and he'll be fine."

Crawford batted .265 this season at Reading but registered a .398 on-base percentage. He worked 30 walks and struck out 21 times in 166 plate appearances. The Phillies drafted him in the first round in 2013 and he has quickly moved through the minor leagues. He has not spent a full season at one level.

It would not be a surprise to see Crawford reach the majors by the end of the summer. If the Phillies continue to contend, the front office could opt to promote Crawford and welcome back outfielder Aaron Altherr from injury instead of mortgaging the future for rental help at the trade deadline.

Crawford batted second for the IronPigs on Friday night. Lehigh Valley now has five of the organization's top 10 prospects: Crawford, righthanders Jake Thompson and Mark Appel, outfielder Nick Williams, and catcher Andrew Knapp. According to the Easton Express-Times, Crawford reported to Allentown wearing a "Make Baseball Fun Again" shirt. He plays the game with intensity and flair.

"It's crazy. I still can't get over it," Crawford told the Express-Times about being one step away from the majors.

Crawford was invited to join the major-league side at spring training in February. He worked in the mornings with Larry Bowa to fine-tune his defense. The former all-star told his protege to slow the game down. Crawford spent the afternoons soaking in advice from the team's veteran ball players. The experience, Reading manager Dusty Wathan said, proved to Crawford that he can succeed in the majors. And now he's just one step away.

"He has a lot of talent," manager Pete Mackanin said. "I like his actions. I think he looks like he has a chance to be a heck of a player. In that small sample, it's hard for me to tell you how good of a hitter is or what have you. But, of course I like the way he looks."

Extra bases

The IronPigs placed righthander Alec Asher on the seven-day disabled list with a calf contusion. He had allowed five earned runs over 29 1/3 innings in four starts at triple A since being promoted last month. … Adam Morgan (1-1, 6.41 ERA) will face Atlanta righthander Williams Perez (1-1, 4.78) on Saturday afternoon.