The time is now for Phillies utility player Scott Kingery to thrive in the majors.
Will this finally be the year Scott Kingery puts it all together? It seems like the kind of conversation fans have had every spring training for the past couple of years. If you are a Kingery critic, you have plenty of ammunition this season — as he is heading into 2021 without a set position and is coming off the worst season of his career. After an improved sophomore year in 2019, he slashed .159/.228/.283 with three home runs and just six RBI across 113 at-bats in 2020.
Those numbers are undeniably bad. There is a fair chance that just showing up should lead to improved results. But, if you are a Kingery supporter, there are more than a few reasons to be optimistic that this is the season he puts it all together. In fact, 2021 might not just be Kingery’s “bounce-back,” it could be his breakout.
To start, Kingery is currently competing for playing time in one of two ways. Either A.) as the starting center fielder or B.) as a super-utility player — who will see a lot of action all over the diamond. Kingery has largely filled the latter role for the Phillies throughout his career, and likely will do so again this year. However, he’s facing relatively weak competition in center field and could be a dark horse candidate to win the job. Regardless of where it happens though, he should continue to see significant playing time.
Kingery will also be a full offseason removed from his COVID-19 diagnosis — something that clearly hindered him throughout last season. The recovery time alone should allow Kingery to play faster and be stronger. He also came to spring training lighter than he did last season and has started to wear contacts.
All of this should culminate into a much-improved 2021 season for Kingery.