JETPAX SZN in 2021? Scott Kingery deserves one more chance.
The year 2020 was a complete disaster for the Philadelphia Phillies. No other player felt the struggle more than Scott Kingery. Underperforming would be an understatement. Kingery finished the year batting .159 with 12 runs, 3 home runs, and 6 RBI.
I’m not one to make excuses for anyone. If you don’t play well, you need to be held accountable. However, I’m not ready to give up on Scott Kingery as being an important piece to the Phillies success in the future. Here’s why:
Scott Kingery battled COVID-19 the entire month of June. Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports detailed Kingery’s experience. Even after being sick for 3+ weeks, Kingery could still not join the team at the start of the season because of failed test results. It would be hard to believe that he was able to properly prepare himself for the start of the season while missing close to 30 days dealing with COVID-19.
On top of that, Kingery battled a shoulder injury which ultimately landed him on the injured list for the first half of September.
Kingery was one of the worst offensive players in Major League Baseball in 2020. The same goes for his rookie year in 2018. Last year, Kingery was productive, batting .258 with 19 home runs and 55 RBI. However, he batted just .230 after the All-Star break.
Much like myself, Joe Girardi is definitely a fan of Kingery and was extremely patient with him throughout the year. He had this to say before the final weekend wrapped up in Tampa Bay.
“Well, I think we expect him to be an everyday player going into next season,” manager Joe Girardi said of the organization’s outlook on Kingery moving forward. “He’s had a tough season with the COVID and then the shoulder and back that he had to deal with, so it’s been a trying year for him. But I would expect him to really have a bounce-back season next year.”
Much like the last few years, it will be important to get Kingery solidified in a position for the start of the 2021 season. Alec Bohm seems to be a lock at third base. Didi Gregorius is a free agent, but assuming he’s back with the Phillies, he will be taking care of duties at shortstop.
That leaves Kingery and Segura at 2nd base. Kingery has seen significant time in center field over the past few seasons for the Phillies. Roman Quinn and Adam Haseley are also on the Phillies roster. Quinn has never played more than 50 games in a season and hit .221 in 2020. Haseley seems to be someone that Girardi views as an option against right-handed pitchers.
It wouldn’t be crazy to see Kingery get the bulk of his starts at center field next season, with Quinn and Haseley both as options as well, assuming both are still with the team in 2021.
If for whatever reason the Phillies fail to re-sign Didi Gregorius, you can expect that Jean Segura would slide back over to shortstop and Kingery would get another shot as the Phillies 2nd baseman.
The Phillies do have a bunch of prospects, specifically at shortstop, the most obvious being 22-year old Bryson Stott. In an ideal situation, the Phillies will re-sign Didi Gregorius, look to move Jean Segura to bolster their bullpen, and give Kingery another go at 2nd base with Stott having another chance to develop in the minors for at least the first half of 2021.
Any way you cut it, Kingery will be entering a make-or-break season in 2021. I’m not ready to say goodbye to #JetpaxSZN. Kingery, however, will need to prove everyone else wrong.
Mandatory Credit: Radio.com