After having a rookie season plagued by inconsistency at the plate, and struggling through playing out of position for much of the year, some fans had their doubts about Scott Kingery entering 2019. He was touted as one of the best young prospects in the farm system, and had a break out Spring Training last March to show for it.
After being given a contract and the opportunity to play everyday, he never quite lived up to those expectations during his rookie campaign.
This season has been a different story though, and Kingery’s proving just how valuable he’ll be to this ball club moving forward.
He’s fresh off a two-hit performance against the Diamondbacks, one being a three-run shot to left field. Kapler moved Kingery to the lead off spot last night in the hopes that he can replace some of McCutchen’s production at the top of the lineup. So far that experiment has worked well.
The recent acquisition of Jay Bruce and his hot bat has overshadowed just how good Kingery has been. But it seems like fans and Gabe Kapler are starting to notice.
“I’d like to start on the development of Scott Kingery and how far he’s come in one calendar year,” Kapler said during yesterday’s postgame press conference. “We’re now kind of expecting good, quality plate appearances from him every time he walks up to the plate. He’s swinging at fewer pitches outside of the strike zone. When he gets a pitch to hit, he’s doing damage or he’s taking a great swing and fouling a pitch back.”
Kapler is no stranger to giving praise to his players – sometimes it can be a little overkill. But he’s spot on here about the development of Kingery at the plate.
Last season, Kingery batted .226 with just eight homeruns, 35 RBIs and a .605 OPS in 484 plate appearances. This year has been a night and day difference. Before he landed on the injured list on April 20, Kingery was hitting .406 with four doubles, two homers, six RBIs and a 1.176 OPS in 35 appearances at the plate. Since rejoining the team, he’s batted .289 with six doubles, one triple, five dingers, 12 RBIs and a .917 OPS in 80 plate appearances. That leaves his season totals at a BA of .324, an OPS of .995, 18 RBIs and seven homeruns in 108 plate appearances.
He’s been a pivotal part of the Phillies lineup this season, especially now with Andrew McCutchen out for the year and the Odubel Herrera situation.
He’s played both center field and third base this season. Some fans and pundits argue that all this moving around for Kingery – who was drafted as a second baseman – will hinder his progression (as we saw last year at SS) and that he may never become the standout prospect that he was projected to be unless he moves to his natural position. But it seems like he’s more comfortable in the field this season compared to last, no matter where he’s at. If anything, all this movement has made Kingery more versatile — something that’s invaluable to Kapler and this ball club. And regardless of where he’s at in the field, he’s clearly comfortable at the plate right now compared to last year.
It’s hard to come out as a rookie in the Bigs and be productive from the get-go. Those struggles likely helped Kingery improve his play this offseason, and that work has paid off here in the first half of 2019.