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Prospect Kingery gets promotion to Triple-A

MLB.com @ToddZolecki

PHOENIX -- Scott Kingery is one step closer to the big leagues.

The Phillies on Sunday promoted him to Triple-A Lehigh Valley. He has been followed closely since he impressed onlookers with his splendid play in Spring Training and continued to put up monster numbers with Double-A Reading.

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PHOENIX -- Scott Kingery is one step closer to the big leagues.

The Phillies on Sunday promoted him to Triple-A Lehigh Valley. He has been followed closely since he impressed onlookers with his splendid play in Spring Training and continued to put up monster numbers with Double-A Reading.

View Full Game Coverage

Kingery, a second-round pick in the 2015 Draft and the organization's No. 11 prospect, hit .313 with 18 doubles, five triples, 18 home runs, 44 RBIs, 19 stolen bases and a .987 OPS in 69 games with Reading.

The Phillies hinted for the past week that his promotion was imminent. After all, what more did he have to prove in Double-A?

Video: MIN@PHI: Kingery belts two-run home run to left

The next question is how quickly can Kingery make the final jump to the big leagues? The Phillies have expressed the need for patience regarding Kingery, so it seems unlikely he joins the Phillies until September at the earliest. And even then it might not happen. Kingery does not need to be protected from the Rule 5 Draft this winter, meaning they could keep him off the 40-man roster until next season. That would allow them to protect one more prospect prior to Rule 5.

But make no mistake: The Phillies are high on Kingery. In fact, it's not crazy to think that he could be their Opening Day second baseman in 2018. That would require the Phillies to trade Cesar Hernandez, but if the Phillies felt they could get a good return for one of their best big league players, they might do it. The Phillies also think Kingery has the talent to possibly move to a different position. That could be an option, too. But for now, they just need Kingery to keep hitting to help make those decisions easier.

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

Philadelphia Phillies