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Inbox: Why has Kingery not received callup?

Beat reporter Todd Zolecki delves into fans' most common question
July 14, 2017

Why won't the Phillies call up Scott Kingery? He seems ready to me.

  • James S., West Chester, Pa.I get this question more than any other, so let's really break it down.:: Submit a question to the Phillies Inbox ::First, I think the Phillies should wait to call up Kingery

Why won't the Phillies call up Scott Kingery? He seems ready to me.

  • James S., West Chester, Pa.
    I get this question more than any other, so let's really break it down.
    :: Submit a question to the Phillies Inbox ::
    First, I think the Phillies should wait to call up Kingery -- the second-base prospect with 22 homers and a .976 OPS through 81 games this year at Double-A and Triple-A.
    I know I'm in the minority, and I know this is a highly unpopular opinion -- call up the kids! -- but it makes sense for the long-term success of the Phillies, and here is why:
    Cesar Hernandez
    Hernandez is on the DL with a strained left oblique, but he could rejoin the team on the road trip following the All-Star break. Once he returns, he should play every day because he is one of the team's best players. Phillies general manager Matt Klentak said that theoretically Hernandez or Kingery could play a different position in the future -- Kingery has been taking grounders at third base -- but their best position is the same position. I leave both of them where they are because I'm not messing with their production and potential trade value. The Phillies could trade Hernandez in the offseason to open a spot for Kingery. But to maintain his value, he needs to play every day at second base.
    :: 2017 Midterm Report: Complete coverage ::
    40-man roster
    Nobody likes to hear that the 40-man roster is a consideration, but it should be for a team with the worst record in baseball and talent in the farm system. Kingery does not need to be protected from the Rule 5 Draft this December, which means if he remains off the 40-man roster, the Phillies can protect another young player.
    Service time
    Cubs third baseman Kristopher Bryant is one of the best players in baseball, and look at how Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein handled him before his promotion. Bryant put up monster numbers in Double-A and Triple-A in 2014 -- bigger and better numbers than Kingery -- but the Cubs kept him in the Minor Leagues the entire season. The Cubs then waited until mid-April 2015 to promote him. Epstein was criticized heavily for it, but it made sense because the Cubs guaranteed they would have Bryant through 2021, when they still might be World Series contenders, rather than wasting a year playing for a bad team and having him a become a free agent following 2020. Cubs fans screaming at Epstein in 2014 and early 2015 aren't screaming today. They're glad Epstein did what he did, because it guarantees another season of Bryant. The Phillies might not follow that path, but it should be a consideration.
    The fans
    One thing I've heard over and over is the Phillies should call up Kingery and their other prospects to give fans something to watch. I get it. Personally, I would love to see Kingery, Rhys Hoskins, Dylan Cozens, J.P. Crawford and Jorge Alfaro. But the worst decision a front office can make is one that appeases fans in the short term. Only 26,498 fans showed up for Nick Williams' debut Monday, but the belief is most of those fans already bought tickets as part of the holiday weekend. Look at the averages of the first three starts at home for James Rollins (13,239) in 2000, Chase Utley (20,330) in 2003, Ryan Howard (35,758) in 2004, Cole Hamels (35,115) in 2006, Maikel Franco (25,525) in 2014 and Aaron Nola (26,924) in 2015. Only Hamels and Nola exceeded season attendance averages. But Rollins (minus-6,671), Utley (7,570), Howard (4,366) Franco (4,399) were well below season attendance averages. In other words, the argument that it's financially beneficial for the Phillies because more fans will come to games once these prospects arrive is not true. They're not coming until the team starts winning again.

Todd Zolecki has covered the Phillies since 2003, and for since 2009. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook and listen to his podcast.