Clearwater, FL – The Philadelphia Phillies rebuild may be nearing an end thanks in part to talented players in the farm system pushing for a roster spot with the parent club.
Such is the case with Scott Kingery. He has shown the Philadelphia Phillies he’s ready to play in the majors even if it takes a bit longer for him to get there.
Kingery is considered the top second-base prospect in baseball and already has been compared to Hall of Famer Craig Biggio and four-time All-Star Dustin Pedroia. But Cesar Hernandez is Philadelphia’s starting second baseman, causing Kingery to play other positions in spring training.
He started at third base for the first time against Minnesota on Sunday and is working in the outfield.
“My thought process last year, knowing I was going to start the year in the minors, was to go out, have fun, give them a little bit of what I can do on the field and show them I can play up here and hold my own,” Kingery said. “This year wasn’t much different. I had a great spring last year and I wanted to do the same thing. Go out, have fun, prove what you can do every shot you step on the field.”
Kingery entered Tuesday batting .378 (14 for 37) with two doubles and three homers.
“Beyond his talent, it’s his work ethic, his drive, his determination, how badly he wants it,” manager Gabe Kapler said. “Every day he becomes more likable as a baseball player and as a man. His teammates love him and his coaching staff loves him and the organization is really impressed with the way he carries himself.”
Kingery is slated to start the season at Triple-A Lehigh Valley because the Phillies would guarantee an extra year of team control through 2024 if he’s not promoted before April 13.
Plus, there’s no spot for him yet.
Hernandez has a .294 batting average and .372 on-base percentage over the past two seasons. He’s earned the right to play regularly. Maikel Franco will begin the season at third but he has struggled the past two seasons despite decent power numbers: a .242 average, .292 on-base percentage and 49 homers. The Phillies have four starting outfielders for three spots but Kingery is joining the mix.
(the Associated Press contributed to this post)