There are two guys in Clearwater making serious noise. One is Brock Stassi, who has a legitimate shot at making the team, and the other is Scott Kingery, who is just happy he was invited to Clearwater. The second base prospect is hitting .353/.421/.765 in 17 at bats with two homers and three runs batted in. He has only struck out one time this spring.
A former walk-on at the University of Arizona, the Phillies selected Kingery in the second round (48th overall) of the June draft in 2015. He has impressed ever since. One person in his corner: manager Pete Mackanin, who has, on a couple of occasions, gushed over the 22-year-old second baseman.
“Boy, he can really play. I like what I see out of him,” Mackanin said to Mike Sielski of Philly.com, and “He might might be on the fast track to the big leagues,” from a Jim Salisbury piece. Kingery put himself on the radar with a .293 average in high-A with an impressive 29 doubles in 94 games. He only struck out 54 times. The first sign of trouble for the Arizona native came with his promotion to double-A Reading. He hit just .250 and struck out 36 times in 37 games.
According to Minor League Ball, Kingery is ranked ninth among Phillies prospects. Its book on Kingery?
“Best tool is speed; got on base at a good clip in high-A but was impatient in double-A with just five walks in 156 at-bats; can surprise with gap power and hit 36 doubles; very polished defender at second base,” per John Sickels, who has the former Arizona standout in Philadelphia in 2018.
CSN Philly’s Corey Seidman quoted Phillies scouting director Johnny Almaraz, who said he’s “an advanced hitter, he’s an everyday second baseman … Good swing, got a little pop, doubles with occasional pull power … ability to play defense and set the tone at the top of the lineup, he’s a very exciting player. A lot of quick-twitch, he gets things going.”
There’s certainly a lot to like with Kingery’s game. He looks to have the full arsenal for a guy that is destined to wreak havoc at the top of the order.
But he needs to improve in double-A. He has to strike out less and walk more. Everything else will fall into place. A strong April and May could lead to a promotion to triple-A, where he rides out the rest of the season. That would set him up for spring training next season, where he’d be playing for the everyday second base position for the Phillies. Expect Cesar Hernandez to be expendable, if that’s the case.
Jim Salisbury, in his piece linked above, called Kingery “a pure ballplayer.” That’s something we’re used to at second base.
Read the entire Sielski piece to get a glimpse of what Kingery has gone through to get here. After reading everything to this point, there’s no reason to think Kingery won’t be in Philadelphia, and maybe by next season.