Phillies’ News: Why Optioning Scott Kingery Was the Right Move

Phillies Scott Kingery
PHILADELPHIA, PA – AUGUST 30: Phillies INF Scott Kingery (4) hits a foul ball in the second inning during the game between the Atlanta Braves and Philadelphia Phillies on August 30, 2020 at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia, PA. (Photo by Kyle Ross/Icon Sportswire)

The fact that Scott Kingery was struggling this spring is an understatement. Because “baseball”, Kingery hit .159 this spring, the exact batting average he had in the COVID shortened 2020 season. Similarly still, his .229 OBP this spring is just 1 point better than his .228 2020 OBP.

The putrid numbers led to the Phillies optioning Kingery to Triple-A.

The demotion comes at no surprise as every other Phillies regular had a batting average of at least 35 points better than Kingery. This was especially true in the positions where Kingery would’ve most likely played.

At second base, Jean Segura had the 3rd best batting average of any Phillie this spring with a .314 mark. In center field, the trio of Roman Quinn, Odubel Herrera, and Adam Haseley hit .294, .255, and .250, respectfully. Kingery wasn’t going to sniff any of those jobs with the numbers he put up. Prospect Nick Maton could have even passed Kingery in the eyes of the Phillies’ front office as he posted a .877 OPS this spring.

Why Triple-A Could be good for Scott Kingery

Since coming to the majors, Scott Kingery has been inconsistent at best. His best season in 2019 saw him slash .323/.366/.604 in the first 81 games of the season and .221/.287/.401 in the last 81 games.

His .159 average from 2020 showed us his worst.

Inconsistency from Kingery could’ve been from his inconsistent positioning. In his two years under manager Gabe Kapler, Kingery played at no less than six positions in each of those seasons. In his lone season under Joe Girardi, he still played three different positions in just 36 games.

Naturally a second baseman, Kingery will get consistent reps at one position in Triple-A for the first time since 2017. That season Kingery split the year between Double-A Reading and Triple-A Lehigh Valley. In the hitter-friendly First Energy Stadium in Reading, Kingery found a power stroke, slashing .313/.379/.608 with 18 doubles and 18 homers in just 69 games. After being promoted to the Iron Pigs, Kingery still posted a respectable .786 OPS.

2021 to start in the minors should give Kingery time to work on his swing. In 3 years at the Major League level, Kingery averaged a 27.8% strikeout percentage. Most of the time it looked as if he had a massive hole in his swing. Even during his best stretch in 2019, Kingery still struck out 45 times in 40 games started.

If Kingery cannot reclaim his former self in the minors, he’ll become just another footnote in the Phillies botched rebuild.

Photo by Kyle Ross/Icon Sportswire