Second baseman Scott Kingery is slated to represent the Phillies in the Arizona Fall League’s All-Star Game on Saturday night.
The 22-year-old righty batting speedster was the Phils’ 2nd round draft selection last year out of Arizona. In time split this year with Class A Advanced Clearwater and Double-A Reading, Kingery posted a .281 average with five homers, 46 RBI and 30 stolen bases.
Through 13 contests with the Scorpions in the AFL, Kingery has tallied a .245 average with a home, two RBI and two steals.
I spoke with Scott on Friday to gain some insight on the level of competition in the AFL and what the honor of playing in the prestigious league means to him. Kingery also spoke about working with personnel from other organizations, teammate Tim Tebow and plenty more. Read ahead for the full interview.
– Does it mean a lot to you to be able to represent the Phillies as an All-Star there in the Arizona Fall League?
I mean, of course. First being selected to play in the Fall League is an honor itself. Having a chance to be selected as one of the top guys in the league is just incredible and I’m just really excited to get to know just of the guys on the others team and play with them a little bit and just have some fun out there.
– When did you find out you were going to spend part of your off-season playing there, in such a highly regarded league?
I found out with about a month left in the season. For me it was perfect because I grew up watching some of those games and watching baseball in Arizona, I knew how great of a league it was and that the top players get sent there, so it was always a dream of mine to one day play in that league.
– Being a local guy, from Arizona, do you have a lot of loved ones coming out to see you play?
I have friends and family come to every game. It’s the best situation I could have been put in. I live about 20 minutes from my stadium, so I have family and friends and people always asking me if I can get them tickets to the games and it’s awesome just having them be there and able to watch since my whole (professional) career I’ve been on the east coast and I haven”t really had the chance to play in front of my family and friends since I started playing for the Phillies.
– How does the AFL compare to the Double-A Eastern League, where you wrapped up the regular season with Reading?
I’d compare it talent wise it’s the same and better. We’ve got some Triple-A guys and some guys that have had big league time and so, you know, there’s a lot of talent in this league and the thing about the Arizona Fall League is you don’t get a chance to get in a groove or find a rhythm when you’re hitting, ’cause they’ve got to get everyone in and you’re playing one day, off the next day and you’re facing a new pitcher every at bat, so it’s different in that sense, but talent wise there’s a ton of guys that are really good out here and they’re just trying to show what they have as much as you are. So, it’s definitely a tough league and there’s a lot of talent here.
– You’re there with several guys that you’ve played with in the Phils system, like Jeff Singer and Mitch Walding, but what is it like working with personnel from other organizations, both players and coaches?
I think that’s awesome, just the chance to get some insight and learn from other people that you’re not normally around. Especially playing with people from other organizations, seeing what their routines are and what they go through and how they play and that’s really cool to get some different angles on how things go. And especially learning from the coaches, they’ll have different views on things than the Phils do, so it’s kind of cool to get those thoughts from a bunch of different people.
– Have you given any thought to how beneficial the time there could be to your path in the long run?
Just the experience is just what’s going to be most beneficial for me and just some extra time to work on some things that I wanted to work on in the off-season and now I’ve had the chance to work on them in a real live game and a live situation. So, I think it’s huge and I’m happy that I’m here and it’s giving me a great opportunity to kind of get things going through the off-season.
– I feel like I’m missing an opportunity if I don’t ask you about Tim Tebow, who is also on the Scottsdale team representing the Mets. What is he like as a teammate?
He’s a great guy. I mean, he’s here to learn and he’s trying to get every piece of information out of situation, every play, every person that he can. And he’s really been a great guy to have in the club house and on the field. Always trying to learn and asking about each situation and just it’s fun to have him around. He’s a good guy.
– I saw Tebow on Good Morning America recently talking about his book. Did each guy on the team get a free copy?
(Laughs) No. I’ve seen the book, but I haven’t had a chance to get my hands on one.
Oh, yes. That was definitely Aaron Brown dressed as Tim Tebow for Halloween. That was the best costume we had that day!
– That’s classic. Wrapping it up here, how do you think this off-season, once the AFL is done in a couple weeks, will vary from your off-season last year?
Yeah, I’m gonna have to tweak some stuff. Last year I went out the California to train for a couple months and I’m gonna have to shorten that, obviously, now. But I think I’m gonna pretty much stick to the same routine, ’cause it helped me a lot during the season, especially (with it being) my first full season, helping me get through. But, I’ll definitely take a couple weeks off, let the body rest a little bit and then I’ll have to jump right back into things pretty soon, because of the shortened time.