Watson, in his first full professional season at low-single-A Lakewood, was in the clubhouse when the Phillies selected Crawford because the Hickory Crawdads had sent him to an early exit, scoring eight times on five hits, including three home runs, in the first two innings.
"It was a bad day for me, and I was really bummed out," Watson said. "I was watching the draft in the clubhouse, and I got really excited. I probably shouldn't have gotten as excited as I did. I started jumping around, but then I came back to reality. I had given up three home runs. I had to reel it in a little bit."
Watson's cellphone rang shortly after Crawford was interviewed on MLB Network, and the two became teary-eyed as they talked about a possible future together in the big leagues.
"He was a year younger than me, but he was one of those younger kids who played in the older division," Watson said. "We were together almost every year on the East Long Beach [Calif.] team. We actually lived two blocks away from each other in Lakewood. We've had family barbecues at his house. He's been to my house. We consider each other family."
Watson has the unique perspective of having seen Crawford and Roman Quinn, the top shortstop prospect in the Phillies organization. Quinn and Watson are teammates on Lakewood's team this year.
"They're about the same player," Watson said. "They're both fast, they have a good glove, and can hit. The one difference is Quinn switch hits and J.P. is a lefty, but they both compete and both get after it. J.P. is a little bigger. I could even see him moving to the outfield later in his career."
Watson, 19, has struggled mightily in his first season at Lakewood. After pitching in just five games for the Gulf Coast League Phillies last summer, he was challenged by being placed in the South Atlantic League out of spring training.
He entered the weekend with a 3-6 record and 6.35 ERA for the BlueClaws and had allowed 11 home runs, the second-most in the league.
"I wasn't expecting it," Watson said. "I had never allowed a home run in my life, and now I'm leading the league in home runs [allowed]. It's a humbling experience, definitely. I'm still trying to grow as a pitcher and learning to command my fastball."
Contact Bob Brookover at email@example.com. Follow on Twitter @brookob.