The Phillies need Scott Kingery to have a breakout season.
It’s tough to tell whether Didi Gregorius will be back. If not, that likely puts Jean Segura back at shortstop and Kingery at second base. Betting on Kingery this year is risky, but the Phillies need a return on their investment. They might want to give “Jetpax” one more opportunity before giving up hope. If they do move on, they would owe Kingery $6.25 million in 2022, $8.25 million in 2023, and a $1 million buytout for 2024.
If the Phillies don’t make any moves for a middle infielder, Kingery will get that opportunity. He will have a longer season to prove himself — with Opening Day not being in the middle of summer like it was in 2020. Hopefully, Kingery will be COVID- and injury-free. The potential is there. We have seen flashes of it. Not too long ago, Kingery was a top prospect in the organization and anticipation was building for his MLB debut.
Unfortunately, top prospects don’t always pan out. Busts have to be accounted for. It would be unfair to put that label on Kingery right now, but time is running out.
Ideally, we will see a more patient and disciplined Kingery in 2021. We want to see the same Kingery who was an All-Star candidate at one point in 2019. The lack of progression from players like him is one of the reasons the Phillies haven’t made the postseason since 2011. Their farm system isn’t deep. While there are a few star prospects at the top of the list like Alec Bohm, Spencer Howard, and Bryson Stott, the system isn’t very promising behind that.
Kingery could have a chance to change the narrative. Time will tell whether he is the answer at second base. If it doesn’t work out, the Phillies need to find a solution sooner rather than later.