MIAMI — Scott Kingery stood Sunday morning in a clubhouse full of some of baseball's best young talent. But he very easily could have been in a clubhouse 1,200 miles north in Philadelphia, where the Phillies played another game with a utility player manning second base.
There is a good chance that Kingery, who played in Sunday's Futures Game at Marlins Park, would already be in the majors if it was not for the constraints of the 40-man roster. He's batting .312 with 22 homers this season between double A and triple A, but his chances to get to Philly this season are slim. Kingery went 0 for 1 in the USA Team's 7-6 win over the World Team at the Futures Game.
The Phillies do not have to protect Kingery from December's Rule 5 draft so they would sacrifice a 40-man roster spot if they did not stash him at triple A for the rest of the season. Keeping Kingery off the 40-man roster allows the Phillies to add a player who needs to be protected from the Rule 5 draft. Kingery understands the predicament.
"I'm going to do whatever I can to call me up," said Kingery, 23. "But for me I know that my Rule 5 year is not until next year, so I'm not expecting that. I'm just going to be successful at triple A and do everything there."
The Phillies could keep Kingery in the minors until next May — just like they did in 2015 with Maikel Franco — in order to delay his free agency by a season. But a strong spring training like the one Kingery had this year will force their hand.
"That's not even a thought for me right now," Kingery said. "I just got to triple A, so I'm focused on just playing there right now."
There was a minor buzz earlier this month when Kingery was spotted fielding grounders at third base before a game at triple A. Perhaps the Phillies were working to move the prospect away from second base. Kingery dismissed that notion.
"I'm a second baseman," Kingery said. "We do it with all the minor-leaguers. We send guys all around the diamond."