At first glance, one may not understand a comparison between Odubel Herrera and Scott Kingery. After all, one is in his third year in the majors and the other has yet to take a big league at-bat. Both players, however, seem to be key pieces in the Phillies future plans. On the path to the bigs, the two have taken much different journeys.
Singed as an international free agent from Venezuela, Odubel Herrera began his professional career at 16 years old. His major league career began when the Phillies plucked him from the Texas Rangers farm system in the 2014 Rule 5 Draft when he was just 23. Despite his well-documented scuffles, he has been a mainstay in the Phils’ lineup ever since.
Scott Kingery, on the other hand, graduated high school at the age of 18 without a single Division I offer. Out of desperation, he shot emails to coaches across the nation hoping for a last-minute chance. Luckily the head baseball coach at the University of Arizona was willing to take a gamble on the 5-7 second baseman. There, as a walk-on, Kingery proved his worth and got exposure to scouts. After 4 years of college ball, the Phillies selected him in the second round of the 2015 MLB Draft. Now, at the age of 23, Kingery is on the fast track to the bigs.
Herrera and Kingery’s journeys illustrate the very different ways in which players rise through the ranks of professional baseball. As an international player, Herrera was able to sign a professional contract at the age of 16, the same age Kingery was as a sophomore in high school. Odbuel Herrera was facing minor league pitching at the same age that Kingery was seeking a college baseball scholarship.
Now, both are shaping up to make the next contending Phillies club strong up the middle.