They just don’t know who will play second and third.
It will be the Phillies’ most intriguing position battle in Spring Training -- it’s more of a dilemma than a battle, really -- because Segura’s and Kingery’s best position is second base, but only one of them can play there.
Segura, who is moving off shortstop for Gregorius, slashed .280/.323/.420 with a 90 OPS+ last season. He makes sense at second base because he had the best season of his career there with the D-backs in 2016, when he slashed .319/.368/.499 with a 122 OPS+. Segura has never played third, which should be a consideration for a team looking to puts its best defense on the field.
Kingery slashed .258/.315/.474 with a 100 OPS+. He makes sense at second because he has Gold Glove Award potential there. But Kingery has played third, looking OK at times. Overall, he is the better defender than Segura. Kingery posted +1 Infield Outs Above Average last season, according to Statcast’s new infield defensive metric. Segura recorded a -4.
“We’re going to take a look at the group of infielders and see where each guy fits the best,” Phillies manager Joe Girardi said. “Obviously, Jean Segura has an important role and is very important to this team. We’re going to look where Jean fits, where Scott fits, where Didi fits and where everybody fits. Part of that is feeling that the players are where they are most comfortable in a sense, but also where it’s most advantageous for us to have them. There’s a combination that you have to weigh there so you get the most out of the player and what’s best for the team.
“I think when you talk about someone like Jean Segura, he’s played second before, so obviously he’s going to have more comfort level at second than he is at third base. But that doesn't mean we’re not going to talk about it and take a look at him at over there. But he’s played second, so we know going in that he’s going to be more comfortable there. And a lot of time, a shortstop on a shift will go over there, so they are more comfortable over there because they’ve been there.”
It sounds like Segura is the early favorite to play second.
But there is a wild card in the mix, too. Alec Bohm is the No. 30 overall prospect, according to MLB Pipeline. He will not open the season with the team, but if he plays well in Triple-A Lehigh Valley, he could push for a promotion by the summer. Bohm’s presence in Triple-A puts a little more pressure on Kingery and Segura in that one of them could lose playing time if Bohm is playing well and they struggle.
In one scenario, if Segura struggles, Kingery could move to second base while Bohm plays third. Conversely, if Kingery struggles, he could bounce around the field while Bohm plays third.
So even if Segura opens camp as the favorite for second base and plays there on Opening Day, it does not mean everything is settled. The Phillies need to put their best lineup on the field, so everybody is going to have to post up to stay.