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FSL notes: Kingery hot to start second half

Phillies' 11th-ranked prospect blistering at plate and on basepaths
July 6, 2016

Scott Kingery struggled in the Florida State League All-Star Game, like most of the hitters, going 0-for-3 in the North's 1-0 victory. Since then, though, there has been no stopping the speedy Clearwater Threshers second baseman.

Kingery had two doubles and four RBIs in the final three games of the first half and has been even hotter since.

The Phillies' No. 11 prospect batted .477 in the first 12 games of the second half, getting multiple hits eight times. He also stole six bases.

Kingery's average was up to .293 after a three-hit game at Lakeland on the Fourth of July, and he led the Florida State League with 26 doubles.

Ten years ago, the Phoenix native got to play in the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pennsylvania.

"At the time, I thought it was the best thing that could ever happen to me," Kingery said. "It was awesome being on a stage like that and getting to play on ESPN."

Now the 22-year-old may be on the road back to Pennsylvania and an even bigger stage.

The Phillies think they have their shortstop of the future on the way in J.P. Crawford, the No. 3 prospect on's Top 100 list. Kingery, a second-round pick in 2015, could eventually be his double-play partner.

When Kingery finished high school, though, it looked like his glory days may have been left back in Little League.

"I don't know if it was my size or what, but I definitely thought I'd had a good enough high school career to get some scholarship offers," said the 5-foot-10, 180-pound Kingery.

None came, though.

Kingery, playing with what he called a "chip on my shoulder," had to make the team at the University of Arizona as a walk-on and was in the outfield for two seasons before getting his chance at second base as a junior.

All Kingery did was bat .354 to lead the Pac-12 Conference, and no one was overlooking him any more.

A polished hitter who uses all fields, Kingery went directly to the Class A South Atlantic League last year and smoothly made the move to Class A Advanced this season.

Kingery didn't commit an error in April and set a prolific early pace in doubles, getting five over a four-game stretch in late May and reaching 20 by June 1.

"Definitely with my speed there are times when I try to stretch a single into a double," he said. "But I've always had gap-to-gap power, so a lot of them have come that way, too."

When Kingery's doubles pace slowed, his stolen bases went up. He had 22 and had been caught just four times.

Kingery is getting plenty of attention now as a prospect, but it's still not what he experienced in the 2006 Little League World Series as a 12-year-old.

"Since the World Series, I've never played before that many fans," he said. "There were like 20,000 or 25,000 fans there. It was incredible."

Kingery was on the Arizona team from Ahwatukee with identical twin brother Sam and his father, Tom, as the coach.

Ahwatukee went 2-1, the loss to eventual champion Georgia.

"It was a great experience and something I'll never forget," Kingery said of playing at Williamsport.

Kingery's real dream, though, has always been to play in the Major Leagues. That could become a reality, too.

In brief

Jorge on roll: Fort Myers right-hander Felix Jorge was 5-0 with a 1.59 ERA in June and went into July with a six-game winning streak. Minnesota's No. 23 prospect struck out 10 over 6 1/3 innings June 29 at Palm Beach and was 8-3 with a Florida State League-best 1.67 ERA after 13 starts. Jorge, 22, had two complete games, including a shutout. The native of the Dominican Republic had walked just 11 over 86 innings while striking out 74, and his WHIP of 0.94 also led the FSL. Jorge hadn't lost since May 13, when he gave up as many as three earned runs for the only time.

Imhof loses eye: Clearwater left-hander Matt Imhof had to have his right eye removed after a freak workout accident, putting his career in doubt. The 22-year-old was doing some postgame arm stretching June 25 at Brevard County when a piece of equipment malfunctioned and he was struck in the face by a large piece of metal. "Although this injury has been tough it could have been much worse," Imhof wrote in a message accompanying a photo on his Instagram account. "I'm lucky to still have vision in my left eye." The second-round choice in the 2014 Draft by Philadelphia was 4-3 with a 3.91 ERA in 14 games during his second year with the Threshers.

Garcia rebounds: Bradenton right-hander Yeudy Garcia went 3-3 with a 1.41 ERA in May and June after starting 0-2 with a 5.40 ERA in April. Pittsburgh's No. 18 prospect had 15 strikeouts to one walk in his final two June starts and took over the league strikeout lead with 81 in 70 2/3 innings. Garcia, 23, had a 2.17 ERA overall and picked up a save in his one relief appearance. He was 12-5 with a 2.10 ERA for Class A West Virginia last season.

Conlon keeps going: St. Lucie left-hander P.J. Conlon hasn't had any difficulties in his move up from the South Atlantic League, going at least seven innings in each of his first three starts in the FSL. The native of Northern Ireland struck out eight in a 3-1 victory over Fort Myers on July 4, improving to 2-0 and lowering his FSL ERA to 2.08. Conlon, 22, was 8-1 with a 1.84 ERA for Columbia before being promoted and has walked just 14 over 100 combined innings. He was a 13th-round pick by the New York Mets in the 2015 Draft out of the University of San Diego.

Guy Curtright is a contributor to