Shortstop is a premium position in baseball. If you can find yourself a great one, you can build your franchise around him. John Paul Crawford is a 6’-2”, 180-pound left-handed hitter from Lakewood High School in Lakewood, Calif., who fits that mold. A slick defender with great instincts, range and a strong arm, he is regarded as the best shortstop in the 2013 MLB draft and is a lock for the first-round — most have him projected in the top 15.
Aside from the defense, Crawford can also swing the bat. With his excellent bat speed, advanced approach at the plate and above-average speed, he projects to a top-of-the-order hitter at the next level. A four-year starter, he hit .417 over 133 career games with 73 stolen bases, 56 extra-base hits and drew 72 walks to just 30 strikeouts. He has been a fixture on every major summer tournament and event, and has received countless All-American awards.
I recently had a chance to bounce some quick questions off J.P. Crawford and would like to thank him for his time during this busy period.
You are wrapping up quite an impressive HS career, having been a four-year starter for one of the top programs in the country. Can you pinpoint one moment that stands out as your favorite?
One moment that stands out for me was this year when I made which I think was the best defensive play in my life to save the game. The next inning, we took the lead and won League.
Can you describe your emotions when you heard the news you were selected to attend the first round of the 2013 MLB draft in New York on June 6?
I was in class, and my Dad sent me a text saying I was invited. I was so happy that I got up and started to dance in class!
You are about to embark on a new chapter of your life. What are you going to miss most about high school?
I am going to miss being out on the field with my boys everyday the most. All of the good times that we had.
Favorite baseball movie?
Easy — Sandlot.
What do you do to take your mind off baseball and relax?
I usually go to the Bay to take my mind off things. Either that, or play basketball with the boys.
Baseball and superstitions go hand in hand. Do you have one, or maybe a pre-game ritual?
Before every at-bat, I write my friend’s initials in the dirt. He passed away earlier this year.
If you could sit and talk to one player, past or present, who would it be, and why?
I would want to talk to Jackie Robinson. Just to sit down and ask him what he went through when he did what he did for the game.
What was it about the University of Southern California that made you commit there?
USC reminded me of my high school. The way they run things, as well as the environment, made me feel very comfortable.
Besides being one of the best baseball players in the country, is there another, maybe hidden, talent inside J.P. Crawford?
My hidden talents would be basketball and Call of Duty. I think I’m unbeatable in both — unless I am playing Kobe or LeBron in basketball, of course!
Who has been the biggest influence in your baseball career?
I think my biggest influence has been my sister Eliza. She is just always pushing me to do better.
I would again like to thank J.P. Crawford for his time. You can follow him and his journey on twitter @jp_crawford.
You can also feel free to follow me @DanMKirby for 2013 MLB draft updates, prospect news and Chicago Cubs ramblings.