The Kingery Shortstop Dilemma

Last week Matt Gelb wrote about the difficulty the Phillies are facing with trying to compete and trying to develop their young players. There is no player at the center of this more than Scott Kingery. Coming into the year, Kingery didn’t look entirely major league ready. He was coming off a strong spring, but his AAA numbers were not great, especially with regard to his approach at the plate. Despite this, the Phillies saw enough upside to sign him a large contract and send him right to the majors.

The problem was and has been that Scott Kingery is a second baseman and the Phillies already have a solid second baseman. The Phillies have tried to deal with this by shoehorning Kingery in at other positions. Kingery can play a competent outfield, but outside of the Rhys Hoskins’ brief 10 day trip to the DL the Phillies have had 4 outfielders they all want to get playing time. That leaves shortstop and third base. At shortstop the Phillies have another top prospect in J.P. Crawford who is known for his glove, and at third they have a former top prospect in Maikel Franco who the Phillies would like to see improve. When Crawford was out with an arm injury, this all made some sense because the Phillies didn’t have another shortstop and it got Kingery’s bat in the lineup for development. Continue reading…

Phillies To Call Up J.P. Crawford: Looking Forward

This piece is a companion to my J.P. Crawford retrospective on Phillies Minor Thoughts.

The most anticipated transaction in the Phillies system for the best 3+ years was the promotion of J.P. Crawford to the majors. It was a move that was meant represent the start of the new age of Philadelphia baseball. Crawford has slipped a bit from this path, but he is still the Phillies top prospect and his promotion is still probably the biggest event of the Phillies 2017 season. Instead of being the start of the new age of Philadelphia baseball, Crawford will be asked to augment what already looks like a bright future highlighted by Odubel Herrera, Rhys Hoskins, Nick Williams, and Aaron Altherr. There has been much written about Crawford over the years and what he might mean to the Phillies, but here on the eve of his callup we get a chance to step back and look at his full minor league resume and see what he might be for the Phillies.

It is hard to translate any sort of statistical defensive numbers from the minors to the majors. What we do know from scouting is that Crawford has great instincts at shortstop and a strong and accurate arm. For the most part he is not a flashy player because his body control makes his motions appear smooth, but he is capable of the making the play deep in the hole at short or making a play on pure athleticism.

Continue reading…