2020 Bust Alert: Why The Phillies’ Scott Kingery May Be Too Risky To Invest In

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There was a time that the Phillies’ Scott Kingery was highly hyped, though that was before he fell flat in 2018.  Things were better in 2019, though are these numbers enough to get behind:

458 At Bats
.258 Batting Average (118 Hits)
19 Home Runs
55 RBI
64 Runs
15 Stolen Bases
.315 On Base Percentage
.474 Slugging Percentage
.337 Batting Average on Balls in Play

It was an intriguing blend of power and speed, especially with fantasy owners trying to find stolen bases wherever possible.  The problem with Kingery, however, lies solely in his average.  We saw signs of how bad things could be last season, just looking at the first three months compared to the last three:

  • April–June – .313 with 10 HR
  • July-September – .223 with 9 HR

Kingery struggled with is approach all season long, with a 15.1% SwStr%.  Opposing pitchers started to adjust their pitch selection as the season progressed, and while it wasn’t a significant change it’s enough to catch our attention.  Just look at this excerpt from Rotoprofessor’s 2020 Fantasy Baseball Draft Guide:

He was particularly bad against off-speed pitches (30.99% Whiff%, .222 with 1 HR against changeups).  Would it be surprising to see opposing pitchers starting to throw him fewer and fewer hard pitches (through June he saw 60.16% hard pitches, which dropped to 58.36% from July 1 moving forward)?  That shift, as minor is it was, helped lead to him hitting .230 with 8 HR in the second half as he struck out a ton (30.5%) and his BABIP was a lot more believable (.311).

While Kingery slugged 12 HR against fourseam fastballs, he managed to hit just .222 with 1 HR against changeups last season.  For his MLB career he’s hit .176 with 2 HR against them, while he’s hit .232 against sliders and .250 against curveballs.  There’s every reason to believe that opposing pitchers will continue to throw him fewer and fewer fastballs, and that could lead to highly questionable results.

Considering his 14.15% Whiff% against hard pitches, there’s reason to believe that strikeouts will remain a part of his game.  Coupled with the pull heavy approach (20.4% Oppo%), potentially limiting his BABIP, and there are significant questions.

While he’s also penciled in for a spot on the infield, is it a guarantee?  Could the Phillies opt to use Alec Bohm at 3B, shifting Jean Segura to 2B?  It’s possible, and while the adoption of a universal DH would help it doesn’t lock him into a role.

Kingery clearly has upside, but make sure you have proper depth given all of the risks involved.

Sources – Fangraphs, Brooks Baseball

Make sure to check out all of our 2020 prospect rankings:

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PositionLast Updated
Catcher04/13/20
First Baseman--
Second Baseman04/15/20
Shortstop04/17/20
Third Baseman04/20/20
Outfield04/24/20
Pitcher--

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