Philadelphia Phillies: The pressure is on for Scott Kingery

(Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images)
(Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images) /

With Maikel Franco and Cesar Hernandez gone, the pressure is on for Scott Kingery and the entirety of the Philadelphia Phillies’ infield.

Scott Kingery was one of the few bright spots of the back half of the Philadephia Phillies‘ season.

He wasn’t perfect – actually he was a bit hot and cold if we’re being honest – but squandering a potential World Series-level roster on inconsistent play, inconsistent effort, and consistently horrible decision-making, Kingery gave the few fans who hated themselves enough to tune into a Phillies baseball game in September a reason to smile.

Already locked into an uber-long-term-deal with options through the 2026(!?) season, Kingery finally established himself as a legitimate starting caliber infielder after spending the majority of the season as a utility fielder.

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Hopefully that’s the case, because Scotty Jetpack will be flying without a parachute in 2020.

That’s right, after allowing 2019 starters Cesar Hernandez and Maikel Franco to walk without arbitration, Kingery has a wide-open opportunity to sink or swim as an unquestioned starter at second base when the 2020 season opens up – but with great power comes great responsibi… expectations.

As you may remember – or may choose to forget – Franco also came to the Phillies as a part-time, high-upside player, but was incapable of taking his game up a notch as a full-time player (more on that here).

But just because Franco was unable to take up the mantle of Ryan Howard as the team’s next great power-hitting chubby dude, doesn’t mean Kingery is incapable of becoming the Phillies’ surest option at second base since Chase Utley migrated west for the bright lights and dark blues of the Los Angeles Dodgers.

No, much like scouting any player at any position, it’s impossible to know how a player will perform until they actually take the field, and in 2019 – his second full season as a pro – Kingery impressed.

Despite playing a variety of positions across the field, Kingery recorded 118 hits, 19 home runs, and 15 stolen bases on 458 at-bats, all improvements over the previous season’s output. When viewed in comparison to Utley’s own sophomore season, Kingery’s performances become even more impressive, as the 25-year-old predictably surpassed his predecessor across the board statistically – an obvious outcome since he appeared in 32 more games.

However, the following season, Utley exploded into the player we fondly remember to this day – more than doubling his home runs, at-bats, steals, and RBI totals in the process.

Next. Maikel Franco could have been a star. dark

If Scott Kingery can also produce a similar statistical swelling penciled in as the team’s unquestioned second baseman – under the watchful eye of a World Series-winning head coach in Joe Girardi – then yeah, fans in the 215 may have a new favorite player, and the Philadelphia Phillies won’t even miss Cesar Hernandez or Maikel Franco. But if not, oh boy, this could get ugly.