The Phillies Have Found Their Next Chase Utley

Phillies Scott Kingery tosses his bat after hitting a two-run third-inning home run against the Tampa Bay Rays during a spring training game at the Charlotte Sports Park in Port Charlotte, FL on Friday, March 2, 2018.

   Chase Utley was the legendary second baseman in Philadelphia for twelve years, making 6 All-Star games in that period. Some may not remember, but he could steal a bag or two early in his career. The Phillies finally have another second baseman that can hit the ball with authority and steal bases; that player is Scott Kingery.

   Here is a stat that will catch your eye, Scott Kingery was the only player in MiLB or MLB to hit 25 home runs with 25 steals in 2017. He ended up hitting 26 home runs and stole 29 bags splitting time between Double and Triple-A last year for the Phillies. He has also tore it up this Spring Training. Kingery is batting .389 with 3 home runs, 4 RBI, and 1 stolen base so far this Spring.  

   So he has impressive numbers in the Minor Leagues, but where is Kingery on the depth chart? The Phillies currently have Cesar Hernandez at second and J.P Crawford is assumingly the starting shortstop role heading into the 2018 season. Kingery has seen time at second and shortstop this spring for the Phillies. He can potentially play third base as well, depending on if Franco has another disappointing season. Interestingly, despite the crowded OF in Philadelphia, he has also seen time there. Kingery was a Minor League Gold Glove winner. A combination of a potent bat and a sparkling glove makes Kingery more than just a September call-up this year.

   J.P Crawford is ranked the #16 prospect in baseball according to Baseball America prior to this year. This despite Crawford’s limited upside when it comes to his bat. His best season in the Minors came in 2015 when he batted .288 with 6 home runs in 107 games for the Phillies A and Double-A teams, (though he only batted .265 for the Double-A team). Crawford is more of a glove man than a hitter. With Kingery being tried out at shortstop, a call-up in May is not out of the question. Especially if Franco or Crawford have slow starts out of the gate in 2018.

   The speed has always been there for Kingery, as he stole 30 bases in 2016 while batting .281. The power he showed last year, however, is what put him on the map. Hitting in a lineup with the likes of Hoskins, Santana, and Odubel Herrera will give him plenty of counting stats given the opportunity. He must improve his walk rate of 4.5% in Triple-A, but those adjustments can be made as he ages. His GB/FB rate was below 1.0 in both Double and Triple-A

   Even if you are in a 12 team league redraft, Kingery may well be worth stashing on your roster. Any combination of injury or disappointing performances may give Kingery the chance to show he belongs in the Big Leagues. Don’t let him slip your mind come draft day, he just might help you win that title.

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