Scott Kingery and Tom Eshelman Win Paul Owens Award

The Phillies announced that a pair of IronPigs had won the Paul Owens Award for the best minor league pitcher and hitter in the system this season. The award is supposed to combine some level of performance and prospect pedigree. On the hitting side recent winners include Darin Ruf, Maikel Franco, J.P. Crawford, Andrew Knapp, Dylan Cozens, and Rhys Hoskins. On the pitching side over that time period the names are much less illustrious with Tyler Cloyd, Severino Gonzalez, Luis Garcia, Ricardo Pinto, and Ben Lively all taking home the award. Enough of about past winners and more about the current winners.

It is hard to argue that Scott Kingery had a better hitting year than Rhys Hoskins, but Hoskins won the award last year and his resume in the majors kind of makes things unfair. What you can argue is that Scott Kingery had the best all around season of any Phillies prospect. He hit .304/.359/.530 between AA and AAA. He has 26 home runs and 29 stolen bases. He played high level defense at an up the middle position. His walk and strikeout rates in AAA leave a little bit to be desired, but don’t detract much from his overall success. Kingery could step into the lineup on opening day if the Phillies trade Cesar Hernandez this offseason, and with Crawford’s promotion he is the best position prospect the Phillies still have in the minors.

Unlike the hitting side, the pitching side was much tighter. The Phillies had at least 4 pitchers with a great case.

  • Jose Taveras (A+/AA/AAA): 9-6 154.1 IP 2.22 ERA 39 BB 140 K
  • Tom Eshelman (AA/AAA): 13-3 150.0 IP 2.40 ERA 18 BB 102 K
  • JoJo Romero (A-/A+): 10-3 129.0 IP 2.16 ERA 36 BB 128 K
  • Ranger Suarez (A-/A+): 8-6 122.2 IP 2.27 ERA 35 BB 128 K

I think right now JoJo Romero is the best prospect of the bunch, but Eshelman and Suarez could put up a good argument. All 4 are behind the top tier of guys like Sixto Sanchez, Adonis Medina, Seranthony Dominguez, and Franklyn Kilome, but they also outperformed that group this year. Eshelman doesn’t have amazing stuff and doesn’t rack up strikeouts, but he is major league ready. If the 40 man roster wasn’t a worry, and he wasn’t at his pitch limit right now, he would be in the majors. He should get an opportunity to compete for a rotation spot next spring.

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  1. Mike Fassano

    September 08, 2017 09:48 AM

    Congratulations to Scott and Tom! I hope somebody explains to them how beloved Paul Owens was in Philly so they can grasp the significance of their award.
    Of the four top tier guys mentioned, I think that Kilome could reach Lehigh Valley next year. The other three, and Romero could reach Reading. Is there such a thing as too much pitching? I’m not sure if Velasquez is still being considered as a viable starter. The front office says that he is, but I think that they’re blowing smoke. Speaking of the front office, have they learned anything in the past two years (Charlie Morton and Clay Buchholz)?
    Injuries to the rotation, and for that matter, the outfield forced Pete into coming up with some “creative” lineups. While I can give him a pass for much of that, he gets a F for naming Gomez the closer in Spring training, another F for continually putting Freddy’s name in the two hole.
    Next Spring the Phillies will have over a dozen pitchers competing for five starting positions. I want the five best on the team. Buchholz didn’t WIN a job this year, he was awarded it because of salary. That stinks!

    • Colin A. Kegel

      September 08, 2017 11:14 AM

      Kilome is already at LHV, in the playoff rotation against SWB. Granted he will probably go back to Reading to start next season and this was purely a situational thing with all the LHV guys reaching their innings limits but hey, he can say he’s made it to AAA!

    • Romus

      September 08, 2017 01:49 PM

      MF…wondering if Pete will be back for his final contract year?.
      Normally managers are either let go or extended prior to the season starting, in their last year of a contract. Will they let him start a season without an extension?
      Assume negotiations could occur soon, but if he starts the season without an extension…he may be just lame duck managing.

      • Mike Fassano

        September 08, 2017 03:01 PM

        Romus. It would be generous of us to give Pete anything but a “C” for his performance this year. It would behoove the front office to at least, (quietly) inquire about the possibility of better options. I’ve often stated that I’d prefer that the Phillies go outside the organization, but Dusty Wathen has done the near impossible this year so he needs to be in the mix.

      • Romus

        September 08, 2017 03:08 PM

        Dusty Wathan is a good choice. I hope they would also take a look at Fredi Gonzalez.
        Former Braves and Marlin manager and now a coach for the Marlins.

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