Breakout or Bust: Will Scott Kingery Rebound In 2019?

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There was a lot of hype surrounding Scott Kingery heading into 2018, especially after we learned that he had signed a contract extension and would be on the Opening Day roster.  Instead of producing a Rookie of the Year type campaign he struggled and ultimately disappointed putting up the following line:

452 At Bats
.226 Batting Average (102 Hits)
8 Home Runs
35 RBI
55 Runs
10 Stolen Bases
.267 On Base Percentage
.338 Slugging Percentage
.291 Batting Average on Balls in Play

That’s a far cry from his 2017 numbers, split between Double and Triple-A, when he hit .304 with 26 HR, 65 RBI, 103 R and 29 SB.  So what changed?

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The big difference is in the swing and miss that was part of his game.  Just look at the SwStr%:

  • Double-A (317 PA) – 10.1%
  • Triple-A (286 PA) – 8.8%
  • Majors (484 PA) – 13.6%

Kingery struggled to make contact against all types of pitches, with a 12.85% Whiff% against hard pitches looming a little bit large.  If he can’t make consistent contact against fastballs he’s going to continue to struggle, and a 22.42% mark against offspeed pitches just adds to the concerns.  Throw in his inability to stay inside the strike zone (39.4% O-Swing%) and buying into a strong average is getting tougher.  His SwStr% worsened as the season progressed, meaning he failed to adjust to how opposing pitchers were attacking him:

  • First Half – 12.9%
  • Second Half – 15.3%

Obviously the first half mark wasn’t very good and it’s possible that with some experience he figures it out and adjusts.  The approach also likely led to his miniscule 26.6% Hard%, and that isn’t going to give him the upside in his BABIP.

Weak Contact + Strikeouts? That’s not a good combination when it comes to his average.

While we would have expected better than a 6.0% HR/FB, it’s not like he posted a monster mark during his time at Triple-A (9.5%).  In other words he’s not a 30 HR hitter, and it’s possible that 2017s power surge got into his head…  Of course he’s always taken more of a fly ball approach, and the 40.8% mark isn’t a big red flag.  However it further helps to suppress his BABIP, and unless the power develops it’s going to further limit him.

Then you have the playing time issues.  It’s possible Kingery pushes Maikel Franco for at bats at third base (and as it is there are rumors of the Phillies adding a 3B via free agency), but he’s far more likely he’s a utility player playing a few days a week between 2B, 3B and SS.  Given the questions about his average and his power, is that going to be enough?

He does have speed, and we all know stolen bases are at a premium, but you need to be able to get on base in order to utilize it.  He doesn’t draw many walks and needs to take a significant step forward to improve his average. Again, not the combination we are looking for.

While we wouldn’t write him off, Kingery is looking more like a player who got people’s attention with a big season and with it brought significant hype.  However there’s a good chance he never lives up to that billing.

Sources – Fangraphs, Brooks Baseball

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2 COMMENTS

  1. This is a guy I avoided in my dynasty rookie draft. Always glad when something I did is the advice you give!

    Will you be doing a write up on Ramon Laureano? I read on razzball that Grey thinks he could be a league winner in 2019. I’d love to see one of your detailed breakdowns with your thoughts. That is, as long as you don’t mind your league mates reading it! haha

    thanks,
    chuck

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