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Crawford Leads Phillies AFL Contingent

Phillies top prospect J.P. Crawford is one of seven Phillies prospects chosen to play in the Arizona Fall League. In all, the Phillies will send three position players and four pitchers to the prospect-laden league, which begins play October 13.

While the Phillies players headed to the Arizona Fall League are led by J.P. Crawford, there are six other prospects that will make the trip to play for the Glendale Desert Dogs next month. Catcher Andrew Knapp, outfielder Dylan Cozens, and pitchers Tom WindleNick PivettaEdubray Ramos and Yacksel Rios will all make the trip.

Crawford isn't only highly thought of by the Phillies organization, he's recognized as one of the best prospects in all of baseball. That ranking makes his presence in the Arizona Fall League that much more interesting. At just 20-years old, Crawford will be one of the headliners in the league, just as he has been in the Eastern League this season, where he has helped to lead Reading to a playoff berth and has them closing in on clinching a division title. The Phillies started Crawford at High-A Clearwater this season, but moved him to Reading when he was dominating the league offensively, hitting .392 after 21 games. In 81 games with Reading, he's hitting .272 on the year. The Phillies are encouraged by the improved defense that they've seen in Crawford at shortstop, thanks, in part, to extra work that he's put in with coach Mickey Morandini.

Knapp was having a decent season with Clearwater - 2-28-.262/.356/.369 - this season when the Phillies decided to promote him to Reading. The 23-year old prospect suddenly exploded at the plate and has hit 11-56-.368/.427/.652 in 52 games at Double-A. There have always been some concerns about Knapp's potential to hit, but his defense has always been impressive, and remains that way. Playing against top competition in the AFL will be a challenge for the young catcher.

The Phillies recently moved Cozens to Reading when Nick Williams went on the DL with a concussion. Like Knapp, Cozens has adapted quickly, going 8-for-18 (.444) with three home runs in his first five games with the Fightins. At Clearwater this season, Cozens hit .282 and had just five home runs in 96 games. As with Crawford, the trip to the AFL will be telling on just how Cozens stacks up to some of the top players around baseball, but his quick early start with Reading is encouraging.

Windle has spent the entire season with Reading, opening the season in the prospect-laden starting rotation. Windle was 2-5 with a 5.35 ERA through 14 starts when the Phillies decided to move him to the bullpen in late June. The results have been good for Windle, who has posted a 1.52 ERA in 18 relief appearances with Reading.

When Jonathan Papelbon agreed to a trade that sent him to the Washington Nationals in July, the Phillies added Nick Pivetta, a starting pitcher, to the organization. Pivetta, had pitched at both High-A Potomac and Double-A Harrisburg for Washington and had a combined ERA of 3.02 in 17 starts. He hasn't fared nearly as well since coming to Reading, where he has struggled his way to a 2-2 record and a 7.31 ERA. The numbers with Washington are a little skewed by the fact that 14 of the 17 starts were with Potomac and in his three starts with Harrisburg, he had a 7.20 ERA.

Ramos came to the Fightins in early July after posting a 1.46 ERA in 29 relief appearances at Clearwater. Ramos had also saved eight games for the Threshers this season, but with Steven Shackleford entrenched as the closer for Reading, Ramos isn't working out of the closer's role, serving instead, as a set-up man. The 22-year old right-hander has a 3.26 ERA in 17 relief appearances with the Fightins.

The 22-year old Rios has spent the entire season with Clearwater and has worked as both a starter and reliever, making ten starts and 15 relief appearances. Even though he has shifted back-and-forth between roles with the Threshers, he's pitched well in both roles, but has been more effective coming out of the bullpen, where he has a 1.43 ERA. In his ten starts, he has posted a 3.81 ERA at Clearwater.

All seven of the Phillies prospects going to the AFL will be playing in the postseason with their respective teams. The Arizona Fall League begins on October 13 and consists of a six-week schedule. Teams are comprised of prospects from around baseball, with each team sending a designated number of prospects. Teams are given position assignments for the players that they send, but frequently will work with other clubs to shift those position assignments, if needed.

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