J.P. Crawford owns the captain role for the Mariners and is the guy that will steer the ship to their first playoff appearance in 20 years.
— Seattle Mariners (@Mariners) April 8, 2022
The Mariners currently have the second-ranked prospect system in the Majors and dropped a 5-year $51 million dollar bag on their Gold Glove-winning shortstop after Kyle Seager handed over the reins retiring at the end of last season. Crawford’s gotten off to a hot start this season and has been key in keeping the Mariners above water early in what many see shaping up as a tight battle for the A.L. West crown.
He’s reached base safely in each game to start the year and is hitting .417 with a .500 OBP and 1.042 OPS entering Friday’s action. It may be a small sample size, but after ending last season on a high note, it’s a start the city of Seattle is happy to see – especially after watching two of their football team’s pillars join other franchises.
Every angle of this JP Crawford play is incredible 😱
— B/R Walk-Off (@BRWalkoff) July 27, 2019
Crawford won the Gold Glove award for American League shortstops in 2020, becoming the first Black player to win the award in the AL since Derek Jeter won it back-to-back times from 2009-2010. Jimmy Rollins won it for the National League from 2007-2009 with the Phillies and again in 2012.
Last year he proved his bat can match the energy he brings on the defensive side of the ball.
He raised his batting average against left-handed pitchers over .30 points and finished 14th in total hits throughout Major League Baseball. The Mariners competed deep into last season, controlling their own destiny for a playoff spot into the final series of the season – but they ran out of gas, failing to earn what would have been their first playoff appearance in 19 years.
The Mariners went all in this off-season, signing the National League’s Cy Young winner as well as acquiring a few All-Stars to cover their outfield. They also brought up one of their top five prospects.
Wanna know what kind of teammate Kyle Seager was?
JP Crawford broke down in tears after playing next to him for the last time pic.twitter.com/CpCO09E6YN
— Talkin’ Baseball (@TalkinBaseball_) December 29, 2021
There’s plenty of talent around him now, and still much more on the way, but the time to win in Seattle is now.
This is the best the team has been in a long time. The core, led by Crawford, got a taste of a near-playoff atmosphere last season.
One thing he will look to build on from last season is the number of times he comes around the plate to score. The 89 times he scored last season was a career high by 46 runs. This season, his goal will be over 100.
He has the versatility to bat in almost every spot in the lineup. The ability to cross the plate will add depth to the team.
Crawford and his Mariners are set for round one of the season-long battle against the Duster Baker-led Houston Astros.