The Philadelphia Phillies rolled into the 2017 season having some power bats in its farm system. The modern-day Bash Brothers — Rhys Hoskins and Dylan Cozens — put themselves on the map, hitting 78 combined home runs in Reading in 2016. They haven’t missed a beat in Triple-A, tied atop the leaderboard with 13 home runs.
Then, of course, there is Scott Kingery.
Kingery has come out of nowhere in the power department this season. While solid play shouldn’t be unexpected from Kingery, the 16 home runs are shocking. The 17 home runs are more than he has hit.
The diminutive second baseman increased his draft stock, improving during his junior season after a breakout sophomore campaign at Arizona. He slashed .392/.423/.561 with 15 doubles and five home runs. The Phillies selected him in the second round of the 2015 MLB Draft because they liked what they saw.
A speedy, solid-enough fielding, gap-hitting second baseman (recently converted, mind you).
That’s who Kingery was last season in his first full year as a professional. The Phillies fast-tracked him, and after a successful stint at High-A Clearwater sent him to Double-A for an end of season sample. Once there, he struggled a bit, particularly in the walks department. Known for advanced plate discipline, he walked just five times in 156 at bats. He was also highly successful on the base paths, swiping 30 of 37 stone base attempts.
This season, Kingery has simply exploded. It is true Reading is a favorable ballpark for sluggers, but what the 5-foot-10, 180 pound middle infielder has done is simply remarkable. Heading into this weekend’s action, Kingery is slashing .323/.403/.682 with a stupendous 1.084 OPS. He has 11 doubles and the aforementioned 17 home runs. The walk rate is much improved (38-to-24 strikeout-to-walk ratio over 198 at bats), but that has obviously improved with every home run he hits.
Those are video game numbers.
I like his swing. Seems pretty quick, not a lot of herky-jerky pre-pitch movement. Seems like he keeps it pretty short and controlled most of the time, but he does chase a little bit. He certainly is pull in most of his power, that's for sure.
One thing I notice from Adam Hayes 2016 video to FanGraphs 2017 video is his legs (and this could be in large part to the angle, and be a non-factor). He looks less spread in his legs this year, and although he never had a huge leg quick, it seems even less defined and his feet start pointed inward.
The Phillies are a mess at the big league level. Unfortunately for Kingery, one of the few Phillies' bright spots thus far has has been Cesar Hernandez at second base. Hernandez is versatile, and does play a variety of positions well, but he seems to have really settled in at second. That being said, he could very well be one of their biggest trade chips come the deadline.
Due to the current state of the Phillies, it seems like a logical progression that Kingery joins Hoskins and Cozens sooner than later in Lehigh Valley (although preferably not before July 12th because I'm covering the Double-A All Star Game this year!). The second base crop is a strong one at the top in the minor leagues right now, but Kingery's current performance has him right up there with the best of them.
His situation is certainly one to monitor and should be interesting over the next few months.