There were some notable reports on two important Phillies players today. Highly-touted shortstop prospect J.P. Crawford underwent knee surgery recently, MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki reports on Twitter. And the club is nearing a critical phase of Aaron Nola’s recovery from an elbow injury, as Zolecki further reports.
Crawford’s procedure was to remove a loose body from his knee. It’ll require a four-week resting period, but doesn’t seem likely to pose any limitations heading into the 2017 season. A consensus top-ten league-wide prospect, Crawford didn’t quite make it to the majors this year but figures to get his shot at some point next season.
Following a solid but hardly overwhelming showing at Double-A, the 21-year-old Crawford earned a promotion to the highest level of the minors. He stalled out there, however, posting only a .244/.328/.318 batting line with four home runs and seven stolen bases in eleven attempts. While he continued to show strong plate discipline, there’s obviously a fair bit of work remaining.
As for Nola, there’s more concern but also less clarity. Though GM Matt Klentak says that the prized righty is “on track,” he still has yet to test his elbow since undergoing a platelet-rich plasma treatment. Nola will likely attempt to throw within the next week or two, says Klentak, with the results of that effort expected to play a major role in assessing his near-term outlook, which the GM says “remains to be seen.”
“The idea is before he goes into his offseason, he’s been up on the mound, he’s thrown to hitters and everything feels good and he goes into his offseason feeling very confident,” said Klentak. “We’re hopeful we’ll be able to time that with instructional league, but if it stretches beyond that, we’ll have to figure it out.”
Though Nola only ended up with a 4.78 ERA over his 111 innings on the year before he was shut down, there were plenty of signs of promise. He racked up 9.8 K/9 against just 2.4 BB/9 along with a 55.2% groundball rate. And ERA estimators viewed his season far more favorably than the earned runs would suggest, with Nola likely dealing with some bad luck (as reflected in a .334 BABIP-against and 60.6% strand rate).