Would the Phillies move on from Maikel Franco to Scott Kingery?
Few prospects have disappointed the Phillies and their fans as much as third baseman Maikel Franco, who went from being the face of the franchise to a puzzle no one can put together. Franco regressed statistically in nearly every offensive category last year.
With Manny Machado and Josh Donaldson approaching free agency after this season the heat is on Franco to prove he’s a part of the next World Championship core. A career .247 batting average and an error every 10 days playing third base won’t cut it for an analytical heavy front office.
While Machado and Donaldson are intriguing, could the Phillies already have their third baseman of the future in their organization?
Scott Kingery, one of the organization’s top prospects and the top second base prospect in baseball, has gotten playing time at third base during spring training and presumably in Lehigh Valley. This spring he is tied for the team lead in home runs with three and leads his teammates with at least 30 at-bats in batting average hitting .378 in 15 games.
If Franco struggles out of the gate and doesn’t find his swing past the middle of May, would the Phillies demote him to AAA in favor of Kingery?
Last year many clamoured for Franco to be sent down to find his swing and approach with the IronPigs. The 25-year-old has two minor league options remaining, which would protect him from waivers.
If Kingery arrives to the majors he’s going to stay, regardless of who is still on the team. If he performs well and Franco finds himself in Triple-A the team will utilize Kingery across the diamond, as they’ve done in spring training.
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Kingery has always been touted as the second baseman of the future, but he’s blocked by Cesar Hernandez. Still 27 years old Hernandez has a large price tag on the trade market, and rightfully so; he’s a versatile defender with a very good bad and underutilized speed. Trading Hernandez to make room for Kingery is the plan, but things change and the organization has to make the best decision for everyone.
While Hernandez could garner multiple prospects similar to Dee Gordon in the Marlins trade with Seattle for three minor leaguers, his bat and glove could be too much to lose.
The third base situations could make or break Matt Klentak’s career in Philadelphia, and that pressure sits on the shoulders of Franco. Should Franco continue to fail in his pursuit of greatness, Kingery will be waiting in the wing.