Scott Kingery had a solid start to his major league career with the Phillies.
In his first 13 games, Kingery batted .280 with two home runs, seven doubles and 12 RBI.
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But he’s hit a major slump. In 23 games since, he’s batting .159 with no home runs, one double and just one RBI. His batting average for the season has dipped all the way to .218.
Kingery’s struggles are real at the moment and the Phillies are hoping that the rookie can find a way to find his groove once again.
Many thought that Kingery’s move into the starting lineup when shortstop J.P. Crawford hit the disabled list would help him improve at the plate, but the opposite seems to be true.
“I think as long as our walk rate continues to be high, I don’t see the strikeout rate as a major hazard,” Phillies manager Gabe Kapler said. “If we see the strikeout rate stay high and the walk rate drop dramatically, that’s problematic and we would have to address that immediately.”
The walk Kingery drew on Sunday against the Mets was the first walk Kingery has had in 20 games. He has 35 strikeouts in 119 at-bats. He needs to find a way to gain more discipline in the batter’s box, but he’ll continue to start in Crawford’s place due to his fielding ability.
“[He has] the ability to be a field general, no matter where he is,” Kapler said. “Whether that’s in center field, second base, third base or shortstop, I think he can command that part of the diamond. He’s physically capable, we know he has the mental characteristics to handle one of the most important positions on the diamond.
Crawford was able to hit off a tee Wednesday and is by all accounts progressing well from his Grade 1 right forearm strain. Since the injury affects Crawford’s throwing arm, the Phillies are in no rush to bring him back. He’s been on the disabled list since April 29.
Many have compared Kingery to the likes of Chase Utley and Dustin Pedroia. The talent and potential is there and the team will continue to show full confidence in him despite his struggles. One bad month doesn’t define a player and he’ll end the slump eventually.
Utley batted just .239 in his first season with the Phillies. Pedroia batted just .191 in his first with the Red Sox. They both went on to have Hall of Fame careers. There’s no reason to believe that Kingery won’t do the same.
The Phillies (23-16) start interleague play Tuesday on the road against the Baltimore Orioles (13-28). They’ll face the St. Louis Cardinals on the road to finish the week with a four-game series, starting Thursday. All games will air on NBC Sports Philadelphia.