To help prepare Scott Kingery for the majors in 2018, the Phillies are expected to play him at second, third, and shortstop in Triple-A.
The best Phillies prospect expected to make his major-league debut in 2018 will be second baseman Scott Kingery. He will likely be in the majors in May or June after getting some more at-bats in Triple-A.
Before he makes it to the majors, the team wants Kingery to get some time at more than just second base. Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports wrote in his recent MLB Notes article that Kingery will play second base, third base, and shortstop before a mid-season promotion.
This will be a continuation of what happened at the end of the 2017 season. After playing second base the entirety of his first two seasons in the minor-leagues, he spent some time playing third and shortstop. He started four games at third base and two at shortstop before the season wrapped up.
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This move follows with the new mindset manager Gabe Kapler and general manager Matt Klentak have expressed that players should be able to play as many positions as possible. They cited the 2016 Cubs and 2017 Dodgers as prime examples of this. Kingery could potentially be the team’s super utility player once he gets called up.
Kingery will likely need this positional versatility to get consistent playing time once he is promoted.
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Hernandez has been one of the club’s most consistent players the last two seasons and it’s unlikely he will be put on the bench for Kingery. Trade rumors have been surrounding Hernandez all offseason and will likely go well into the regular season. The team likes him, but if a compelling offers comes, especially for a solid starting pitcher, they may be inclined to trade Hernandez, leaving a place for Kingery to go.
Otherwise, Kingery will get playing time wherever he can fit into the lineup. It will likely go similarly to when Crawford was promoted last September. Crawford got time at shortstop, third, and second base during his debut last year.
Pete Mackanin worked Crawford in whenever he could to get the rookie as much playing time as possible. Expect something similar to happen with Kingery until an injury or trade happens.
Of course, Kingery could wind up taking over for Franco if he continues to struggle into this year. It wouldn’t make sense for Kingery to be on the bench if Franco fails to contribute at the plate. Philadelphia is expected to pursue Manny Machado next year, but if they fail to sign him, Kingery could wind up being the long-term option.