A player with negative WAR is someone who has performed worse than his replacement, a AAAA player. Scott Kingery was a negative WAR player in 2018, fetching a -0.1 WAR from Fangraphs and a -1.3 WAR from Baseball Reference. The young Phillie looked lost at the plate last year, slashing .226/.267/.338.
His batting average was the lowest among all Phillies players with over 300 at bats. The hype from 2016 and 2017 started to fade from view.
In 2019, the hype is back. Scott Kingery has been one of the Phillies best assets this season. Kingery has shown versatility playing every position except catcher, first base, and right field in 2019. With injuries and etc., Kingery has been the man to fill in where needed.
Franco needs a break at 3rd? Scott Kingery.
Odubel Herrera becomes the most hated player in Philly and Adam Haseley gets injured days after being called up? Scott Kingery.
Jean Segura or Cesar Hernandez have an off day? Scott Kingery.
Getting blown out and need a position player to pitch? Maybe not Scott Kingery, although he’s done it before.
But it is not just Kingery’s defensive versatility that is driving his value, he’s also hitting the cover off the ball. As of June 13th, Kingery has been slashing .315/.356/.613 with 7 homers and 10 doubles.
Despite only having 18 RBI, Kingery is mashing with runners in scoring position with a slash line of .409/.435/.864. That’s a glaring comparison to 2018 where Kingery batted .227 with a .653 OPS with RISP.
Kingery’s all around improvements have reflected in his WAR. Baseball Reference has him at 1.2 WAR through 36 games played and Fangraphs has him at 1.2 WAR as well.
Baseball Reference and Fangraphs might not have been able to agree on how bad Kingery was in 2018, but they both agree that he’s been great in 2019.