The guy I have the closest eye on this spring is the former number two prospect who has the most to prove in the eyes of the organization. Kingery signed a six-year, $24 million dollar contract last spring, with club options giving the Phillies control over him until 2026. With that deal, Klentak told the entire organization “He’s our guy.”
However, even after the departure of J.P. Crawford, it’s a crowded infield. Jean Segura seems to slide into the starting SS role, and it’s safe to assume Cesar Hernandez will retain his role manning second base. That leaves Maikel Franco and Kingery duking it out for third base.
After tearing up AA Reading in 2017 (.313 BA, .987 OPS, 18 HR in 69 games), Kingery struggled to maintain any success at the plate or in the field. He had 13 errors, and a fielding percentage of .870 at third base. At the plate, strikeouts were his greatest obstacle, striking out once every 3.6 at-bats. If Kingery wants to prove to the organization that he’s actually their guy, his level of play on both sides needs to improve.
What I’m really looking to see out of Kingery is a calculated approach at the plate. There’s no doubt that Kingery has the raw talent to play at the Major League level. But only so much can be done with potential, and if he wants to become more than “raw talent,” that has to translate at the plate. If he can develop his plate discipline and pitch selection, his numbers will start to reflect the numbers that led him to be one of the top prospects in baseball.