The Phillies have selected second baseman Scott Kingery and right-handed pitcher Tom Eshelman as the recipients of the 2017 Paul Owens Award, presented annually to the organization's top minor league player and pitcher.
The 23-year-old Kingery batted .304 with 29 doubles, eight triples, 26 home runs, 65 RBI, 41 walks, 29 stolen bases, 103 runs scored and an .889 OPS in 132 games between double-A Reading and triple-A Lehigh Valley. He hit safely in 55 of his 63 games with Lehigh Valley, reaching base safely in 58 of them. Kingery was tied for fourth among all minor league players in runs scored and tied for ninth in extra-base hits, and his 23-game hitting streak from Aug. 2-25 was tied for the fifth-longest in the minors while leading the International League. No player in the minor leagues with at least 25 home runs had as many stolen bases as Kingery, and only one of those players came within 15 steals of him. He finished the season 29-for-34 in steal attempts. Defensively, the Phoenix, Ariz., native posted a .989 fielding percentage between both levels, turning 76 double plays and finishing the season with a 47-game errorless streak.
Kingery represented the Phillies on the U.S. Team in the All-Star Futures Game in July and was named the Eastern League Player of the Month in May. He was selected by the Phillies in the second round of the June 2015 draft.
"Scott showed the ability to be an impactful everyday player on both sides of the ball, and that is the most exciting thing," said Joe Jordan, the Phillies Director of Player Development. "The power showed up this season, and he wins as many games on the defensive side as the offensive side. That, and his energetic style of play, makes him an exciting young player with a very bright future with the Phillies."
Eshelman, 23, made 23 starts between double-A Reading and triple-A Lehigh Valley, going 13-3 with a 2.40 ERA, 0.97 WHIP, .233 opponents' batting average and 102 strikeouts to just 18 walks in 150.0 innings pitched. He finished first among all Phillies minor league pitchers with at least 100.0 innings pitched in both walks-per-nine innings ratio (1.08) and strikeout-to-walk ratio (5.67), walking either one or none in each of his 23 starts. Of the 49 other minor league pitchers with as many innings pitched as Eshelman, only two issued fewer walks. After being promoted to Lehigh Valley in May, the 6-foot-3 right-hander allowed one earned run or none in 10 of his 18 starts with the IronPigs, including six scoreless starts. He led the International League in WHIP (0.94) and was second in ERA (2.23) and complete games (3). Eshelman was an IL midseason All-Star, as well as the league's May Player of the Month. He was acquired on Dec. 12, 2015, from Houston along with four others in the trade that sent Ken Giles to the Astros.
"Tom was a model of consistency for the entire 2017 season," Jordan said. "His ability to execute pitches is truly special and his ability to command the baseball is going to allow him to be a meaningful rotation piece for our major league club going forward."
The Paul Owens Award was instituted in 1986, and is named for the late Paul Owens, who spent 48 years in the Phillies organization as a scout, farm director, general manager, manager and senior advisor. The players will receive their awards on the field on Sept. 19, prior to the Phillies' 7:05 p.m. game against the Los Angeles Dodgers.