5 Phillies most interesting to follow this spring training

Matt Moore #55, formerly of the Texas Rangers (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
Matt Moore #55, formerly of the Texas Rangers (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images) /
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Scott Kingery #4 of the Philadelphia Phillies (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /

The clock is ticking for Phillies INF/OF Scott Kingery to break out in the majors.

As Scott Kingery enters his fourth season in the majors, all signs point toward this being a make-or-break year. He may not have a set role unless he becomes the everyday center fielder, but he surely will get plenty of opportunities in the utility player role.

So far through 309 games and 1,108 plate appearances, Kingery has slashed .233/.284/.393 with 62 doubles, 30 home runs, 96 RBI, 25 stolen bases, 67 walks, and 308 strikeouts. In 2019, he had a career year with 19 home runs and 55 RBI, while slashing .258/.315/.474 across 126 games and 500 plate appearances. He hit just .226 as a rookie in 2018 and .159 this past season.

Kingery entered summer camp last season not only coming off having the COVID-19 virus, but he also was “bulkier,” which was said to slow him down in the field and on the base paths. Now, he has entered this spring training leaner.

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The Phillies are reportedly stressing to Kingery to make the most of his line-drive stroke and use the whole field, rather than aim to hit the ball out of the ballpark during every at-bat — especially when there are sluggers in the lineup like Bryce Harper, Rhys Hoskins, J.T. Realmuto, and Didi Gregorius.

“He’s going to do that at a lighter weight, because he’s not in a position where he is bulking up and thinking, ‘Hey, I got to get this ball out of the ballpark,’” said Phillies president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski. “It will happen naturally at times, but he’s not the type of guy that should be trying to do that.”

“Hearing that that’s the type of shape he came in — I’ve watched him now and know he can run — those types of guys that can do it all, run and be a spark plug that can play different positions, they’re so important,” he added.