Phillies utility man Scott Kingery attempting 'last hurrah' with club
Phillies utility man Scott Kingery looking to prove himself to the organization's management in 2023.
Scott Kingery's Philadelphia Phillies tenure has included many ups and downs. A once-promising prospect, Kingery is now entering his age 29 season with an uncertain future — on the final season of his six-year, $24 million contract signed in March 2018.
In the past three years, Kingery has struggled massively at the plate in red pinstripes. From 2020-2022, Kingery combined for a .144 batting average, .454 OPS, and three home runs in the majors. He has not fared any better at Triple-A — where he hit just .230 with a 35.4 percent strikeout rate last season.
Nobody expected this sudden change in results. In Kingery's second year in the league, he hit 19 home runs and swiped 15 bags. He seemed to have an encouraging future and could play almost any position. Kingery has seen time at every spot on the diamond in his career besides first base and catcher.
So, what happened to the man once labeled as the organization's No. 3 prospect? Kingery's defensive talent is still there, but he is such a liability at the plate that he has become practically unplayable. Edmundo Sosa, meanwhile, has run away with the Phillies' primary utility player role.
After his three-year cold stretch, Kingery might have finally found his niche again. He has been raking in spring training thus far — slashing .462/.533/.615 with a home run, steal, and eight runs scored across 11 games. If you combine his defensive versatility with what he is doing offensively right now, Kingery could be useful come the regular season.
Still, Kingery's hot bat does not guarantee him a spot on the Opening Day roster, but he is making a case to be considered over other players such as Darick Hall and Jake Cave.
Phillies hitting coach Kevin Long spoke very highly of Kingery before spring began. Kingery altered his swing to try and get better results, and it has worked. Long said this about Kingery to thePhiladelphia Inquirer:
""There was almost a point last year where I felt like he was hesitant about going to the batter’s box. There’s no hesitation now. His confidence is spilling out of him. Now he’s jumping in.""- Kevin Long
It would be a terrific feel-good story if Kingery returned to his old form. He has spent eight years in the organization and is willing to improve, so giving him another shot should be considered.