Philadelphia Phillies: Scott Kingery will excel now that he’s the everyday second baseman.
The Philadelphia Phillies selected Scott Kingery 48th overall in 2015, and he’s been one of the organization’s most exciting young players since. Before he even appeared in a major league game, the organization had handed him a six year extension worth $24 million. The contract also included club options for 2024, 2025, and 2026, which could see the value rise all the way to a total of $65 million. An astonishingly large commitment to a player who at the time had never even seen a major league pitch..
After inking the largest extension ever handed out to a minor leaguer, Kingery officially joined the main roster in 2018. He appeared in 147 games, and hit just .226. Kingery primarily played shortstop that year, and spectators were quick to point out that he wasn’t in his natural position (seeing as he exclusively played second base in the minors). It seemed quite odd for the Phillies to play Kingery out of position after committing so much money to him.
While Kingery’s overall numbers jumped the following season (.258 batting average), he still wasn’t able to secure the everyday second base job. Cesar Hernandez was still in town, meaning Kingery was relegated to rotating between the outfield and third base. While they may seem non-correlated, MLB players have routinely expressed that comfort on defense does impact their at-the-plate production.
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Now entering 2020, it looks like Kingery will finally get his chance to be a permanent starter on the right side of the infield. Manager Joe Girardi has made a serious point of shifting around the infield (Jean Segura converting to third) in order to get Kingery at second, and it makes sense considering he literally won a minor league “Gold Glove” playing the position in 2017.
It appears some baseball simulators feel the same way about KIngery’s position switch, as baseball reference.com is predicting Kingery to set career-highs in batting average, on-base percentage, and slugging percentage. Seeing Kingery post a .300+ average during 2020’s shortened season would surely solidify his role as the team’s cornerstone second baseman moving forward.
On top of Kingery being allowed to operate in his natural position defensively, it appears the 26 year old infielder has packed on some serious muscle this offseason. He was already a strong athlete before, so this should only help his power even more. Kingery experienced a slight setback earlier this month as he tested positive for COVID-19, but he experienced a full recovery and is currently with the team in Philadelphia.