5 dark horse candidates to fill out the Phillies 2024 Opening Day bench

Which Phillies players could surprise this spring to steal a bench role by Opening Day?

Philadelphia Phillies v Arizona Diamondbacks
Philadelphia Phillies v Arizona Diamondbacks / Chris Coduto/GettyImages
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Scott Kingery

Some may have already forgotten, but Scott Kingery was once upon a time an up-and-coming top prospect in the Phillies’ organization. Selected by the Phillies back in the second round of the 2015 MLB Draft, Kingery made his major league debut just three seasons later in 2018 as the No. 2 ranked prospect in their system at the time after signing a disastrous six-year, $24 million contract.

His debut season didn't turn out as well as he hoped, as he struggled a bit to put up big numbers. But he promptly followed it up with a much stronger sophomore season in 2019, in which he hit a solid .258 with a .788 OPS, along with 64 runs scored, 34 doubles, four triples, 19 home runs, 55 RBI and 15 stolen bases in 126 games. He appeared to be on the rise after that breakout season.

Unfortunately, after a battle with COVID-19 along with some injury woes over the following two seasons, Kingery's once-promising career got derailed and he failed to regain his prior form. He has spent the majority of his time in the minors in recent years while hardly getting a sniff of major league playing time, with just one game appearance since 2022.

However, Kingery showed some signs of life with the Phillies’ Triple-A affiliate Lehigh Valley last season, displaying some of the speed and hitting prowess that many witnessed back in his good days in the big leagues. In 2023, he hit .244 with a .725 OPS, with 68 runs scored, 18 doubles, three triples, 13 home runs, 47 RBI, and 24-for-25 in stolen bases in 117 games.

At 29 and as a non-roster invitee to major league spring training, Kingery is a long shot to make the Phillies Opening Day roster. But if he manages to put his skills and abilities on full display once again this spring, maybe, just maybe, he'll finally get a chance to salvage and resurrect his big league baseball career.