Phillies 2021 Spring Training Preview: Position Players
We lead off the infield talk with Matt Klentak‘s favorite, Scott Kingery. Kingery is going to be a super-utility player with his experience at second base, shortstop, third base, and center field. That is a big boost if players like Jean Segura, Alec Bohm, and Didi Gregorius need nights off, or are on the injured list, Scott comes in and will fill that role.
Kingery is also known for an interesting contract as he signed a six-year contract before even stepping onto Major League grass. A lot of pressure was put on him from day one, clearly, the Phillies envisioned an excellent player they had to lock up before he got expensive. Well, it hasn’t been exactly worth the investment yet, as Kingery has a career OPS+ of 77.
While that is bad there are a lot of things that need to be factored in, Kingery faced a ton of pressure in his rookie season, living up to the hype was going to be a major challenge, and his OPS+ was just 61 in his first 147 games.
The next season Kingery showed much more improvement as a hitter, looking more comfortable and going up 40% the next season making his OPS+ 101.
2020 was a completely different story and it was by far the worst season of his career, you may ask, how could this be? Before the season began, Kingery had COVID-19, which can do a lot of different things to your body and could make it harder for you to workout.
So in a period where it was going to be harder for some guys to work out and get ready for summer camp, Kingery had to deal with getting sick, and he described it as a sickness that would linger for him. This could be why he did not play well in 2020.
Kingery looked lost at the plate, and his OPS+ backed that up at just 37. Remember, the average OPS+ is 100, so Kingery was really bad at the plate in 2020.
With all of that said there is light at the end of the tunnel, COVID should not be an issue as it has been months since he had it, he is still young at 26 years old, and most importantly he has a potential starting position in Center Field on the line.
Who knows how Kingery’s season will go in 2021 but one can only imagine him being worse than in 2020, him being a slightly below-average hitter would be a massive improvement to the Phillies.