Seattle Mariners captain J.P. Crawford helped lead the team to their first playoff appearance in 21 years. It ended a streak of futility which was the longest in major North American pro sports.
Now, after setting a new standard in the Emerald City, Crawford will look to elevate the franchise to true contender in 2023. With the additions of young stars like 2022 Rookie of the Year Julio Rodriguez, the missing piece to a championship run is an offensive elevation by their web master.
During their last series of the season, Crawford was officially given the captain role after the retirement of longtime Mariners third baseman Kyle Seager.
Seattle Mariners Finish Strong
The Mariners got off to a slow start in the win column, but Crawford was one of a few players who helped keep a new roster above water until they gelled. He was among the Major League leaders in batting average, on base percentage, runs, OPS and WAR along with his teammate Ty France. Crawford was playing so well it felt almost certain he would get to participate in his first ever All-Star Game in his hometown of Los Angeles.
However, one Sunday afternoon in late June put a halt to those plans.
J.P. Crawford Involved In Wild Brawl
The game took place in Anaheim between the Mariners and the team that ultimately defeated them in that final series of 2021, the Angels. Throughout recent years — and even this season — multiple players, including former first round pick Justin Upton were hit with pitches; his, a fastball to the head a little under two weeks before hand.
With tensions already high, the Angels decided to use an “Opener” to hit a Mariners batter in the back to begin an inning.
Back-and-forth talk between outfielder Jesse Winker and the Angels bench began, which led to Winker charging towards their dugout. A fight ensued as the benches cleared and fists were being thrown until Crawford came into the scuffle to throw an overhand right in defense of his teammate.
“I always tell them, I got their back,” Crawford told reporters the next day. “Just know that I have got your back. When stuff hits the fan, I am going to be the first one out there every time. I am going to do that 10 times out of 10. I have always got my boys back.”
It was one of the biggest brawls in recent Major League Baseball history as a total of eight people were suspended including Crawford who was sentenced to five games.
Although that seemed to end the 2020 Gold Glove winning shortstops All-Star bid, it also lit a fire under the entire clubhouse and sparked the team. Seattle ended up winning 90 games to clinch a wildcard spot and end their 21-year playoff drought.
In the playoffs, the Mariners swept the powerhouse Blue Jays and set themselves up in a matchup against their division rivals in Dusty Baker and the Astros. In Game one, the Mariners pummeled Astros starter Justin Verlander and Crawford had a major blow with a huge home run off the former Cy Young winner.
The Astros would end up winning the game and taking the series 3-0, but Crawford along with his group of young superstars showed the bright lights of October will not bother them.
Crawford ended the season batting .243 with six home runs, a .339 OBP and 24 doubles. In all it was a successful 2022 for J.P. Crawford. Elevation is the key to success.
Despite Houston Astros Jeremy Pena’s strong rookie campaign in which the baby bomber won a World Series and a Gold Glove, we still consider J.P. to be the best defensive shortstop in the Majors. Crawford will, however, have to raise his average and on base percentage if he wants his name solidified as an all-around elite player at his position, especially in a stacked American League.