Philadelphia Phillies: Downsized Scott Kingery could return to form in 2021

2020 was not a good year for Philadelphia Phillies infielder/outfielder Scott Kingery, I don’t think there’s much debate there.

The super-utility player slashed .159/.228/.511, posted a negative defensive WAR for the first time in his career (-0.4), and was in and out of Joe Girardi’s lineup due to COVID-19, injuries, and just a general sense of poor play. Despite being hailed as the “Phillies version of Dustin Pedroia” once upon a time, the 26 year old righty just couldn’t find his footing in 2020.

While his early bout with COVID-19 can likely be pinned as the root cause for the majority of his struggles last season (the recovery process can be really brutal), another factor that may have affected his on-field ability is that of his physical bodyweight. Kingery showed up to camp noticeably heavier last year, as it appeared he’d packed on anywhere from 10-20lbs of size over the offseason.

A lighter Scott Kingery could give the Philadelphia Phillies a much-needed boost.

At the time, the added strength had people feeling good about the potential for a far more powerful Scott Kingery taking shape in 2020. While Kingery’s ability to drive the baseball has always been one of his major calling cards (34 doubles in 2019), he’d failed to really stack up any impressive home run totals. By waltzing into camp a beefed up version of himself, the general consensus was that Kingery would be operating with far more “pop” in 2021.

Obviously that didn’t happen, and now it appears Scott is pulling a complete 180 when it comes to getting himself back on track for the upcoming season.

According to Joe Girardi, Kingery has dropped anywhere from 10-15lbs in preparation for the 2021 campaign. Scott Lauber of the Philadelphia Inquirer had the following to say regarding the reported weight loss:

After the Phillies’ first full-squad workout Monday in Clearwater, Fla., manager Joe Girardi noted that Kingery “looks great,” having dropped nearly 15 pounds in the offseason, and is primed to compete with Roman Quinn and Adam Haseley for the center-field job.

Although Girardi said the idea of trimming down this winter was Kingery’s, not the team’s, the Phillies hope that being less bulked up could help yield what Dillon described as a “compact, explosive” swing.

“That’s a focus of ours – gap to gap, line drives all over the place,” Girardi said. “He’s strong enough and has enough power, he’s going to run into home runs. He’s just going to run into them. We need him on base and causing havoc and being the player that he’s capable of being.”

It’s hard to predict what exactly Kingery’s 2021 will look like, especially when you take into account that Jean Segura is still being pinned as the everyday second baseman. However, pretty much anything would be an improvement off of last year’s season – whether at 2B, CF, or even just as a bench piece.

While it feels like an eternity ago, Kingery posted a .788 OPS with a 2.8 WAR during the 2019 season. Him getting back to those numbers would go a very long way in terms of helping the Philadelphia Phillies crack the postseason this summer.