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.