PHILADELPHIA -- Phillies fans should see one of the top prospects in baseball before the end of the year.
Shortstop J.P. Crawford is baseball's No. 7 prospect, according to MLB Pipeline's latest Top 100 Prospects list. Crawford, 22, was the second-youngest player in the International League after the Phils promoted him to Triple-A Lehigh Valley in May. He hit .244 with four home runs, 30 RBIs and a .647 OPS in 385 plate appearances there, and he continued to show an excellent ability to control the strike zone, giving Philadelphia confidence that he will improve his numbers this year with the IronPigs.
If Crawford isn't in the big leagues before the end of the year -- at the very least as a September callup -- then something probably went wrong.
Crawford, who ranked second last year, is one of three Phillies prospects in MLB Pipeline's Top 100. The other two are outfielder Mickey Moniak (No. 19) and catcher Jorge Alfaro (No. 72.).
Sixteen organizations have four or more prospects in the top 100. The Braves and Yankees are tied for the lead with seven each.
The annual ranking of MLB's Top 100 prospects is assembled by MLBPipeline.com Draft and prospect experts Jonathan Mayo, Jim Callis and Mike Rosenbaum, who compile input from industry sources, including scouts and scouting directors. It is based on analysis of players' skill sets, upsides, proximity to the Majors and potential immediate impact to their teams. Only players with rookie status entering the 2017 season are eligible for the list. Players who were at least 23 years old when they signed and played in leagues deemed to be professional (Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Cuba) are not eligible.
Philly had seven players in the Top 100 last January. Phillies prospects no longer in the Top 100 are right-handers Jake Thompson (no longer rookie eligible) and Mark Appel, and outfielders Nick Williams, Cornelius Randolph and Roman Quinn.
The Phils selected Moniak, 18, with the first pick in the 2016 Draft. He hit .284 with one home run, 28 RBIs and a .749 OPS in 194 plate appearances with the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League Phillies. He has been compared to former big leaguer Steve Finley and Marlins outfielder Christian Yelich.
Alfaro, 23, hit .285 with 15 home runs, 67 RBIs and a .783 OPS in 435 plate appearances with Double-A Reading in 2016. He has tremendous power and a strong arm, which is why he is in the Top 100. He is expected to open the season with Lehigh Valley.
Todd Zolecki has covered the Phillies since 2003, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow him on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.