Top 15 Mariners for 2023: J.P. Crawford comes in at #12

Division Series - Seattle Mariners v Houston Astros - Game One
Division Series - Seattle Mariners v Houston Astros - Game One / Bob Levey/GettyImages

Every team has an emotional leader who motivates the squad and sets the tone. John Paul Crawfordchecks, who check in at number twelve on our Top Mariners for 2023 list, is that guy. While most baseball people will label emotion and leadership as intangibles, they hold significant weight for one of Major League Baseball’s youngest teams. 

Crawford had steadily improved offensively across the board since President of Baseball Operations Jerry Dipoto acquired him in 2019. Dipoto recently joined Seattle Sports 710, Brock, and Salk to discuss all things Mariners, including Crawford’s career and role in the team. 

"“J.P. is a two-to-three-win player in terms of WAR. That teamed with his leadership ability makes him a big piece of our team and our team’s future... A lot of people forget he’s right in the middle of his prime as well, so there is room for more steps forward.” "

Jerry Dipoto

He’s always been elite defensively, but he took significant steps forward with the bat every year, improving his slash line, using the entire field, and controlling the zone with an average walk rate of (10.0%) and strikeout rates well below the MLB average (16.2%). 2021 was his best year when he accumulated 3.3 WAR. 

JP Crawford is ranked #12 on our list of top Mariners for 2023

The 28-year-old shortstop played through injuries last year. Subsequently, his statistical lines on both sides of the ball took a hit. However, despite the dip in production, he was still a two-win player. Now that Crawford is healthy and already putting in off-season work at Driveline Baseball, I’m all in on him having a bounce-back season in 2023, and STEAMER is also

The renowned baseball projection team has Crawford racking up a .256/.337/.364 slash line and 3.0 WAR. Having that kind of production at the bottom of the lineup could be a key to this team closing the gap with the Astros because if there is one thing Scott Servais’ team lacked late in the season, it was depth. 

Winning teams need emotional leaders who set the tone offensively and defensively. Thankfully, the Mariners have one of the best around with plenty of upside ahead in J.P. Crawford.