WASHINGTON -- Scott Kingery and Tom Eshelman both had fantastic years in the Phillies farm system. Both could be in the big leagues early next season.
The Phillies announced Thursday that Kingery and Eshelman are their 2017 Paul Owens Award winners, presented annually to their top Minor League player and pitcher. Kingery, who is the No. 55 prospect in baseball, could be the Phillies' everyday second baseman as early as late April or early May. Eshelman could be competing in Spring Training for a spot in the Phillies rotation.
Kingery, 23, hit .304 with 29 doubles, eight triples, 26 home runs, 65 RBIs, 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 reached base in 58 of 63 games with the IronPigs. No Minor League player with 25 or more homers had as many stolen bases as Kingery, whom the Phillies selected 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," Phillies player development director Joe Jordan said in a statement. "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."
If Kingery is not promoted until late April 2018 or later, it would give the Phillies another full season of team control, making him a free agent following the 2024 season instead of 2023.
Eshelman, 23, went 13-3 with a 2.40 ERA, 0.97 WHIP, .233 opponents' batting average, 102 strikeouts and 18 walks in 150 innings over 23 starts with Reading and Lehigh Valley. He led the farm system (among pitchers with 100 or more innings) in walks-per-nine-innings ratio (1.08) and strikeout-to-walk ratio (5.67).
He never walked more than one batter in any of his starts. The Phillies acquired Eshelman in the Ken Giles trade with Houston in December 2015.
"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."
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. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.