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Larry Bowa thinks Scott Kingery could be an All-Star at second base


Scott Kingery is entering his third major league season. (Kyle Ross/Icon Sportswire)

In an interview with Jon Marks and Ike Reese on SportsRadio 94 WIP last Friday, Larry Bowa sang his praises for Phillies super-utility man Scott Kingery. He also wasn’t afraid to share his opinion on how the team should utilize Kingery in 2020 and beyond.

“Without a doubt, this kid is a great athlete.” Bowa said. “He can play anywhere you want [him to], but if we put him at second base, he would be an All-Star there. He’s an unbelievable second baseman and I think — mentally — when he knows he’s going to play there [between 155 to 160 games], you’re going to see a big upswing in his batting average when he knows he can play one position.”

Kingery spent the majority of 2019 splitting reps between center field and third base. He occasionally filled in for César Hernández at second and Jean Segura at shortstop when either of the two needed a day off:

Note: The smallest slice represents Kingery’s at-bats as a pinch-hitter.

General manager Matt Klentak recently said that Kingery may be the best at four different positions.

“I don’t think it’s a stretch to say he’s our best defensive second baseman, shortstop, third baseman and center fielder, in any one of those spots,” Klentak said to Joe DeCamara and Jon Ritchie on SportsRadio 94 WIP. “Now he can’t play all four of those every day, but I think it’s reasonable to think that he’s our best defender at any one of those spots.”

For a while, it seemed inevitable that Kingery would one day be the Phillies everyday second baseman. He put up significantly better numbers in 2019 then he did in 2018 despite struggling down the stretch.

As Phillies Nation Editorial Director Tim Kelly noted, Hernández’s high arbitration price makes him a clear non-tender candidate, but that ultimately does not mean Kingery would assume the position in 2020. According to a report from The Athletic’s Meghan Montemurro, the Phillies are weighing whether to move Segura away from shortstop.

Segura would most likely play second base if moved to another position, and Kingery would either take over at shortstop or remain in the super-utility role.

The chances of either scenario occurring depend highly upon who the Phillies sign in free agency. They can choose to upgrade at third base by signing Josh Donaldson or Mike Moustakas or fill the void left by Segura at shortstop by signing Didi Gregorious. The team could also call up Alec Bohm if they feel he is ready to be the team’s Opening Day third baseman, which along with signing another middle infielder, would push Kingery back to the super-utility role. (That scenario, at least on Opening Day, feels unlikely.)

Bowa, who currently serves as a special advisor to Klentak, expressed some concern over the ballclub’s inability to fill those positions. The former Phillies skipper, however, is hopeful that the team can find a way to let Kingery be a mainstay at his natural position. 

“The bad thing with Kingery now is that he’s so good at all the other positions and we’re not able to fill those other positions…he’s an unbelievable second baseman and hopefully, we can put him out there and leave him there because I really think this kid’s going to have a really good career.”

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