Ron Costello

Saturday, August 4, 2018

Before Scott Kingery played a single game in the major leagues the Phillies signed him to a 6 year, $24 million contract at the close of spring training in April. 
Should Scott Kingery have stayed at Reading or Lehigh Valley?

How rare is that? It's only happened one other time in major league history. Even more extraordinary is the reason why.

It's not like he had a stellar minor league career, although he showed some homerun power at Reading. He split 2017 between Reading and Lehigh Valley getting most of his home runs with the Double-A, Reading Fightens.

At face value, one concludes that the Phillies saw so much potential in Mr. Kingery — plus the fact that he can play most positions — the club decided he was a can't miss major leaguer.

They also may have thought that his aggressiveness and hustle would rub off on the team. I think the decision was pushed by manager Gabe Kapler, who saw another Chase Utley on the rise and convinced the suits upstairs to do it.

So how's that going?

True, Mr. Kingery is reminiscent of Chase Utley. But without a doubt, he is struggling. I've never seen a player get into 1-2 or 0-2 holes as fast as Scott Kingery. It's as if he wants to prove he can play and is more aggressive on the first three pitches and jumps on them. Sometimes he appears to have no idea — remindful of Pat Burrell after he swung wildly at a slider — and, let's face it, he's made some costly errors.
Manager Gabe Kapler introduces Scott Kingery at CBP in April.

Makes you wonder if it was anyone else — Nick William, Aaron Atherr, J.P. Crawford, Dylan Cousins — they'd have been sent up the Northeast Extension to the IronPigs by now.

I'm not saying the Phillies were wrong for what they did. They certainly know more about player development than me. Nonetheless, could Mr. Kingery have used another full year at Triple-A? Probably. Could playing him prematurely in the big leagues hurt his career? Maybe,  but doubtful.

Have they raised the Faithful's expectations unfairly for the young player? Maybe, but so far no boos. Is Mr. Kingery playing under his own inner pressure from the weight of the contract, feeling like he has to produce every time up? Maybe, and that might explain why he get's behind so fast, instead of working the count.

Moreover, is there resentment from any of the other younger players that he got a special deal, but no one else did? Could be.

Lookit, I'm a big Scott Kingery fan. But you must agree the organization has a history of conservatism in moving young players up to the Show.  

But this move is a head scratcher.

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