The Philadelphia Phillies received terrible news when manager Pete Mackanin announced on Tuesday second baseman, César Hernández, would be out at least six weeks with an oblique injury. For the time being, the Phillies have the red-hot Howie Kendrick playing second base, which is a position he has played for most of his career, but so far his defense has been a bit shaky, committing three errors in four games at the position already. The perfect man to fill Hernández’s spot, even if it’s just for a little bit, is Phillies’ 11th best prospect, Scott Kingery.
The Phillies drafted Kingery in the second round of the 2015 MLB Draft out of Arizona and he’s found success at every minor-league level he’s been at so far in his professional career. In his second stint in Double-A with the Reading Fightin’ Phils, Kingery has been on fire for the first two and a half months of the season, leading all of the minor leagues in home runs with 18 and has also hit for a high average at .299. Kingery trended to be more of an on-base guy coming out of the draft so the uptick in home runs this year is a big plus and his plate discipline is marvelous, only striking out 18 percent of the time.
With the way he’s tearing up Double-A, there doesn’t look to be much left for him to prove there, yet the Phillies are holding him back for some reason and that doesn’t make much sense. One of the main reason the Phillies drafted him is because he was an advanced college bat, who could progress through the minor league levels swiftly, and he’s been doing just that. The consensus is the Phillies should give him a taste of the majors with Hernández out and it’s not the craziest idea out there.
There are no flexibility issues with the 40-man roster unless you would miss guys like Adam Morgan and Michael Saunders and in fact, the Phillies have an open spot after dealing lefty reliever Joely Rodriguez to the Texas Rangers earlier in the week. Prospects bypassing Triple-A isn’t something too out of the ordinary and Kingery has the mental makeup to handle it. Other Phillies prospects have done it such as Jorge Alfaro and Roman Quinn, who received a taste of the majors before heading to Triple-A, so why can’t Scott Kingery follow the same path.
The Phillies desperately need a shot in the arm right now and sprinkling in some of the kids, starting with Kingery, is the best way to do it. There is a vacancy at his position and he would fit right into a struggling lineup that would welcome a player like Kingery, who can get on base at will, has stellar plate discipline, and is a burner on the base paths. The Phillies can smile and pretend everything is okay all they want, but for the sake of the fans and quality of the team, changes have to be made pretty soon.