(Part two of an ongoing look at the Philadelphia Phillies, and the potential future stars in the organization.)
Knowing what the Phillies currently have on the MLB roster, it's fair to say that there's a solid core on which to build. A young and talented core, if not flashy, but a core nevertheless.
A few players hovering at the Triple-A level are on the verge of breaking into that big-league lineup, players who could help the Phillies bring it all together and climb out of the basement and above .500 within the next year or two.
It's not going to happen overnight, but it is going to happen.
Let's take a look at just a few of those players closest to the big-league roster. This first particular prospect is one who I believe will play a significant role in the new-look Phillies:
Scott Kingery (.304, 26, 65, 29 steals between Double-A Reading and Triple-A Lehigh Valley)
Kingery is a 2nd-round pick from 2015 who has played fairly consistently, if not impressively, since his first season in Single-A Lakewood. His bat started to show promise with the Reading Fightin' Phils in the Eastern League in 2017, where he batted .313 with 18 homers and 44 RBI in only 69 games.
He also scored 62 runs in a lineup that included a number of other talented youngsters, but the plus speed demonstrated by Kingery will likely lead to more of the same at the higher levels, as his extra-base pop is a product of his speed nearly as much as it is of developing power. He's not likely to set the world on fire, but he very much looks the part of a steady, above-average glove-man at second who could be a reliable run-producing bat in the #2 slot in the Phillies' lineup.
His wRC+ with Reading was 166, while he experienced an expected drop in Lehigh Valley (117 in 63 games). He will have to increase his selectivity at the plate and certainly cut down on the strikeouts without losing what power production he now has. Again, his speed will likely offset that, to a degree.
The upshoot in steals is due in large part to Kingery's learning how to use it in the pro ranks, though with the caveat that there are always extenuating factors (team/coach requirements or instruction, location in lineup, general effectiveness of team offense, etc) in analyzing a sudden rise in stolen base totals.
A return to Lehigh Valley would benefit Kingery, but even with modest improvement he could make his MLB debut in 2018. Keep on the lookout for him.