The Philadelphia Phillies
minor league system has been universally proclaimed throughout the baseball industry as one of the most improved in the game over the last two years.
Over the next week, I am counting down my Top 10 Phillies Prospects as of Fall 2016. That process begins today with #10 on my list, second baseman Scott Kingery
Kingery was the choice of the Phillies in the second round of the 2015 MLB Amateur Draft
at 48th overall out of the University of Arizona. An identical twin, Kingery played in the Little League World Series in 2006 with a team from the Ahwatukee Little League.
“At the time, I thought it was the best thing that could ever happen to me,
” Kingery said per Guy Curtright at MiLB.com
in July of this year. “It was awesome being on a stage like that and getting to play on ESPN.”
He was a First Team Louisville Slugger All-American at Mountain Pointe High School in Phoenix, and a Baseball America Second Team All-American.
Kingery was a walk-on at Arizona, earning 30 starts and appearances in 41 games with the Wildcats in 2013. As a sophomore the following year, Kingery became a full-time starter, with 47 of those starts coming in center field.
Kingery’s Pro Career to Date
Following that 2014 season, Kingery played in the Cape Cod League with the Brewster White Caps.
He hit for a .312 average over 125 at-bats in 33 summer games. His 39 hits were tied for the team lead, and his 52 total bases were second on the club.
For his junior year at Arizona, Kingery hit for a .392/.423/.561 slash line with 30 extra-base hits. He produced 36 RBI, 53 runs scored, and 11 stolen bases. For his performance that season he was named the Pac-12 Player of the Year.
Drafted by the Phillies that June, Kingery quickly signed a slot-value deal for just over $1.25 million. He was then sent to begin his professional career with the Low A Lakewood (NJ) BlueClaws.
Kingery’s college double play partner, shortstop Kevin Newman
, was selected by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the first round at 17th overall.
“I had talked to scouts that liked him better than Kevin Newman in terms of his ability to hit,” said MLB.com’s prospect expert Jonathan Mayo per NJ.com’s Randy Miller.
“He’s got some more strength. He can run. He’s played some outfield before, so you may want to try him in center field and give him a shot out there. But I think he’ll be OK at second base… I think it’s actually a pretty good find.”
At Lakewood, Kingery hit .250 with three homers, 21 RBI, 43 RBI, and 11 steals over 282 plate appearances in his first 66 pro games.
Combined at the two 2016 stops, Kingery hit for a .281 average with a .335 on-base percentage. As a 22-year-old, he scored 76 runs and knocked in 46 in 586 plate appearances over 131 games.
Scouting Report and Expert Comments
Kingery is a top-of-the-order, reach-base-and-score-runs speed player. He swiped 30 bags this year between his two stops.
Challenged with a trip to the Arizona Fall League, Kingery got off to a slow start with the Scottsdale Scorpions. He bounced back, heated up, and was the lone Phillies prospect selected to play in last week’s Fall Stars game.
“I was watching the games, knowing that a ton of big leaguers came up through this. I remember watching these guys out here and you see how much fun they’re having, and now to be a part of that and be able to have fun with my friends and a bunch of different guys that I’ve never played with before, it’s an incredible experience.”
MLB Pipeline now ranks Kingery as the Phillies’ #13 overall prospect, and has him as the fifth best second base prospect
in the game.
Just this past week, Baseball Prospectus released their updated Phillies Top 10 Prospects for 2017 rankings. They left their #10 slot open, mentioning a handful of the club’s prospects who were all too closely bunched together to separate from one another.
Kingery was one of those prospects, with BP stating
: “If you want to take the safe Major League future, proceed to Scott Kingery
“, providing that link to their statistical breakdown of his performances to date.
What the Future Holds
Kingery is not a “can’t miss” prospect. He is not the next Chase Utley
. He doesn’t have to be the next Utley, who was the best player at the position in the history of the franchise.
But he may be the Phillies’ future at the second base position. If all goes according to plan, Kingery will open 2017 back at Reading. He would then advance to the AAA Lehigh Valley (PA) IronPigs during the summer, and push for a September cup of coffee at Citizens Bank Park.
Unless the club signs or deals for a better option at the position, fans should look for Kingery to push for the starting second base job with the Phillies by Spring Training of 2018.