Where Phillies prospect Kingery opens 2018 may hinge on trade of Galvis or Hernandez

Phillies may have to make a decision on where Scott Kingery opens 2018
Skilled on the diamond yet grounded with a sense of grit and a strong work ethic, Scott Kingery is the type of athlete that Philadelphia fans will adore.

The 23-year-old mastered Double-A last season and earned a mid-year promotion to Lehigh Valley. Combined, he hit .304 with 26 home runs while piecing together a .889 OPS.

He's the future of the Phillies at second base and conceivably could break camp on the Phillies Opening Day roster based on talent alone. However, it may not be the worst thing for the organization if he were to begin the year at Triple-A.

Given the current glut of infielders the Phillies have, manager Gabe Kapler has said he's interested in possibly piecing together an infield rotation where everyone gets playing time but everyone also sits for a day depending on the given day's match-up.

"It's not just a challenge, it's a blessing," Kapler said earlier this month. "It's a gift to the Phillies, it's a gift to the players, it's a gift to the manager. … Giving them the best possible match-ups. And the awesome part of this is, guys, at the end of the day you're going to look up and your numbers are going to be better because we move puzzle pieces around to keep you the healthiest, strongest version of yourself and to match you up against guys you're most likely to have success against."

An interesting experiment for an infield, but how will it impact the maturation of Kingery if his starting spot isn't a guarantee every day?

The logical move given the circumstances is to trade either Freddy Galvis or Cesar Hernandez to create roster room, but there are some drawbacks that come from moving either guy. First, both have legitimate value and provide something the team needs, be it Galvis with his spectacular glove or Hernandez and his ability to get on base. Secondly, general manager Matt Klentak is dealing from a disadvantage because other clubs know the Phillies infield depth issue.

Also important to note, Galvis has one year remaining on his current deal before testing free agency whereas Hernandez is under club control for another three.

This all circles back to Kingery.

He experienced an uptick in strikeouts and his slash statistics dropped quite a bit following his promotion to Triple-A last year (.987 OPS at Reading vs. .786 at Lehigh Valley), so additional seasoning with the IronPigs to open the season isn't an outlandish thought. It's also probably a better option than collecting fewer at-bats and sharing a starting position depending on the day and match-up at the big league level.

There's no doubt Kingery is the future for the Phillies at second base, but there's also no need to force anything come Opening Day.
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Follow Patrick on Twitter: @PGordonPBR

BY PATRICK GORDON
Managing Editor
pgordon@philadelphiabaseballreview.com

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