Phillies: 10 keys to winning the National League East

CLEARWATER, FL - MARCH 11: Bryce Harper #3 of the Philadelphia Phillies talks to manager Gabe Kapler prior to a Grapefruit League spring training game against the Tampa Bay Rays at Spectrum Field on March 11, 2019 in Clearwater, Florida. The Rays won 8-2. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
CLEARWATER, FL - MARCH 11: Bryce Harper #3 of the Philadelphia Phillies talks to manager Gabe Kapler prior to a Grapefruit League spring training game against the Tampa Bay Rays at Spectrum Field on March 11, 2019 in Clearwater, Florida. The Rays won 8-2. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /
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PORT CHARLOTTE, FL – FEBRUARY 22: Scott Kingery #4 of the Philadelphia Phillies makes some contact at the plate during the Spring Training game against the Tampa Bay Rays at Charlotte Sports Park on February 22, 2019 in Port Charlotte, Florida. (Photo by Mike McGinnis/Getty Images) /

Scott Kingery needs to take a step forward

The biggest disappointment of last season was the lack of production from rookie Scott Kingery. In my opinion, the organization put him in a horrible position by paying him early just to sit on the bench and play a position other than second base.

Kingery went from being the top second base prospect in baseball to the next Dom Brown. There are reasons Kingery drew comparisons to Chase Utley as he worked his way through the minor leagues, but they weren’t on display at all in 2018.

Fans saw little of Kingery’s bat in 146 games last year with a .226 batting average and a .605 OPS. Kingery quietly had 23 doubles last year, third most on the team, and eight home runs.

Philadelphia Phillies
Philadelphia Phillies /

Philadelphia Phillies

Philadelphia needs more than a -1.3 WAR from a player they invested $24 million in before he took a big league at-bat. However, it remains a question of where Kingery can get consistent at-bats.

Maikel Franco won the third base job, Jean Segura is locked in at short, and Cesar Hernandez is returning as the everyday second baseman. Kingery is a second baseman, and like Rhys Hoskins moving back to first from left field, I think Kingery would thrive playing his natural position every day.

That would mean either Hernandez getting hurt or being traded at some point. As a team looking to contend neither is an ideal scenario for Philadelphia. Perhaps if Kingery comes out hot to start the season and Philadelphia needs to add a starting pitcher they use Hernandez to add a veteran arm.

Regardless of how much playing time Kingery gets the organization and fanbase must see him take a step forward and prove he’s not the next Dom Brown or Cody Asche.