Talented infielders making their SAL debuts

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From one Lakewood to another, Philadelphia Phillies shortstop prospect J.P. Crawford is set to make his full-season debut in the South Atlantic League.

David Lee
Sports Writer
Twitter: @David11Lee
E-mail | 706-823-3216

Crawford, drafted 16th overall in the 2013 draft out of Lakewood High School in Lakewood, Calif., has been assigned to the Lakewood BlueClaws in the SAL to finish the season.

The 18-year-old will immediately become one of the youngest players in the league, joining Lexington’s Raul A. Mondesi, Rome’s Jose Peraza, Delmarva’s Adrian Marin, Hickory’s Luis Marte and Greenville’s Jose Vinicio in the impressive group of teenaged shortstops the SAL boasts.

Crawford has the talent to compete with Mondesi for top shortstop in the league. He was considered one of the best shortstop prospects in the draft, showing excellent athleticism from a 6-foot-2 frame, and the ability to stick at shortstop in the future if he adds size. He is a quick-twitch middle infielder, displaying a quick throwing release and strong arm with good range.

Crawford’s bat will likely need instruction in the lower levels, and he could face adjustment periods when he plays full seasons in the minors for the first time. But he hit .345 with eight doubles, three triples and one home run with 12 stolen bases in 168 plate appearances for the Gulf Coast League Phillies to begin his professional career.

With the addition of Crawford, the SAL now has five first-round picks from the 2013 draft playing in the league.

ANDERSON HOMERS: Another impressive shortstop with a similar skill set hit his first professional home run for the Kannapolis Intimidators on Friday night.

Chicago White Sox prospect Tim Anderson hit a home run for the first time in his career against the Greensboro Grasshoppers, going 2 for 4 with two RBI in the game.

Anderson, drafted one spot behind Crawford at 17th overall in June, earned an aggressive assignment to Kannapolis to begin his career after playing for a community college in Mississippi. He has held his own, hitting .275 with a .348 on-base percentage, including 21 stolen bases.

Anderson and Crawford are very similar in skill andphysical attributes, showing athleticism at shortstop and the ability to hold their own with the bat in the lower levels. They have similar listed sizes and should add muscle as they grow.

DOZIER PROMOTED: Another talented infielder recently added to the SAL is Lexington Legends’ Hunter Dozier, drafted eighth overall in June by the Kansas City Royals.

Dozier has played in three games for Lexington since being assigned from Idaho Falls, going 2 for 10 with a double and RBI. The 6-foot-4 third baseman and shortstop hit .293 with 22 doubles and six home runs in only 224 plate appearances for the rookie league team before getting promoted.

Dozier was drafted out of Stephen F. Austin State University in Texas, where he hit .396 with 17 home runs this year. He will likely shift to third base permanently because of his size, but he has the power and glove to stay at the hot corner.

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