The city of Philadelphia is a great place to play for athletes with success. On the other hand, the city will try to run a player out of town for continuous struggles. Scott Kingery has had more struggles than success so far in his short Phillies career. It’s not time to count him out. With a minimal role so far this season, Kingery has shown he is worthy of an opportunity. Sunday might just be the start to Kingery getting more playing time with the start at third base. The Kingery bandwagon will be gaining momentum with fans if he can prove all his offensive stats are no fluke and he needs more playing time.
Rookie struggles into Sophomore success
It didn’t take Kingery long to turn heads in Spring Training 2018. He was on a roll and couldn’t be stopped. He hit a slash line of .411/.441/.786 with five home runs and three walks in 56 at-bats. So the Phillies management pounced on the situation signing their number two prospect to a 6-year, $24-Million contract. This made Kingery the second ever drafted player to sign a multiyear contract before his major league debut.
As if a major league debut isn’t hard enough. Now Kingery also had a money value to live up to in fans eyes. The wheels began to fall off into the start of the regular season. The disappointment and doubt buried Kingery. Mental toughness is a huge part of being a professional athlete. Up to this point, Kingery had no chance to be ready for what he was in store for. Unfortunately for the Phillies and their fans Kingery ended the season statistically one of the worst hitters in baseball.
Fans and professional experts brought those impressions of Kingery into the 2019 Spring Training. He was not Superman by any stretch of the imagination. But Kingery had some bounceback hitting .264/.328/.472. As a super utility athlete being able to play almost every fielding position, second base was the most realistic opportunity to win a starting job. He eventually lost the starting job to Cesar Hernandez. But gained more confidence back.
The time is now to get on the Kingery bandwagon
Kingery’s opportunities have been minimal at best to this point in the season in order to make an impact. Another reason is that manager Gabe Kapler has yet to get deep into his analytical tactics. As of April 14, 2019, that is going to change.
Hernandez has been struggling and its time Kingery gets the nod he worked for. Kapler has also brought up the fact of the team being thin with centerfield backups and Kingery is capable of handling that role.
On April 13, 2019, Kingery got to pinch hit for Maikel Franco against the Marlins. He ended up with two hits in his only two plate appearances. Kapler said after the game “We’re going to find a way to get Kingery in the lineup tomorrow.” With that opportunity, Kingery went 3 for 6. In his only 16 at-bats this season he has hit .500/.556/.688. Those stats are unrealistic to maintain but its a huge first step in proving to all the doubters he can play at a high level in the majors and get fans on board the Kingery bandwagon.
So now that Kingery was able to grow from his rookie season to take the pressure better, look for him to be more of the player the Phillies paid for. He will be only turning 25 in a week and a half. Still, have his whole prime ahead of him.
Feature Image by Bryan Green via Flickr
Stats via Baseball-Reference
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