EL notes: Phillies' Kingery keeps on rolling

Speedy infielder shows surprising power with Double-A Reading

Second baseman Scott Kingery leads the Minor Leagues with 16 homers and has 12 stolen bases for the Fightin Phils. (Andy Grosh/MiLB.com)

By Craig Forde / Special to MiLB.com | May 31, 2017 10:00 AM ET

Scott Kingery will be the first person to tell you that he is not a home run hitter.

Yet the Phillies' No. 11 prospect has already slugged a league- and Minor League-best 16 home runs through 45 games, putting him just one behind New York Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge for most in all of baseball.

"I can't even explain it to myself," said Kingery, who entered the season with five homers over his first two seasons of pro ball. "I don't even know what's going on because I've never had power like this. Obviously it's fun and I'm not going to complain about what's going on. Right now, I'm not thinking about hitting home runs. I'm just trying to put a good swing on the ball and trying to find a way on base. I'm getting a little carry on the ball and it's finding its way out."

Kingery got his feet wet at the Double-A level last season, appearing in 37 games with Reading before playing in the Arizona Fall League.

Following some off-season adjustments, and his first taste of big league camp, the Fightins' second baseman entered the campaign in a place of comfort.

"I worked a lot during the offseason, tweaked a few minor things in my swing," said Kingery, who worked at keeping weight on his back leg to prevent lunging at bad pitches. "Having played 40 games here last year, getting a little bit of the experience and knowing I was coming into this season made me more comfortable."

With a power surge like the one he's displayed this season, it may be easy to overlook exactly where Kingery's true value lies.

The former second-round pick, who only became a full-time second baseman in his junior year at the University of Arizona, has become a quick study at his position.

Under the tutelage of big league staff and players this spring, he gained even more knowledge of his position. Slowing things down and realizing situations, he's become more fluid in the field, committing only one error in his first 171 chances this season.

 Video: Reading's Kingery belts walk-off shot

"Everyone was very helpful," he said of his time in big league camp. "I had a ton of people pointing out some stuff with my fielding. If they saw something, they were letting me know, which was really cool. … I haven't been playing second base for very long, so every year and every game I play out there just helps me get more comfortable."

Kingery also serves as the Fightin' Phils leadoff hitter, and while launching the occasional bomb is all well and good, he takes great pride in getting on and moving into scoring position. His 48 runs scored are a league best, 17 more than the next closest guy, and his 12 stolen bases are tied for third.

"My whole career I've been a singles guy, and I've had to try other ways to get into scoring position," Kingery said. "That's something I'll always work on. It's not just about speed out there."

While the home runs may have overshadowed his overall game, the 23-year-old expects things to even out as the season goes along.

"I've never had more home runs than stolen bases at any time in my career," he joked. "Right now, it's a little bit different, but obviously I want to steal as many bases as I can. I don't know how long I can keep up this power thing. I think the stolen bases will catch up soon."

In brief

Beeks answers the bell: While half of Jalen Beeks' starts for Portland this season have come versus Reading, almost all of his wins have. The Red Sox No. 28 prospect, who stood at 5-1 after his first eight starts, was 4-0 and had not allowed a run against the Fightin' Phils in 22 innings. The Sea Dogs southpaw, who made three consecutive starts against Reading, held the Fightins to a .160 batting average.

Strong transition game: Though his start with Class A Advanced Tampa did not produce numbers that jumped off the page, Yankees No. 11 prospect Domingo Acevedo has spun a different tale since a promotion to Double-A in the middle of May. The 6-foot-7 right-hander did not allow a run in his first two starts for Trenton, grabbing wins in both while striking out 14 over 13 2/3 innings. Acevedo started the season 0-3 in four starts with Tampa, but in the five starts since he has held opponents to .213 batting average and struck out 39.

Icing the bats: After posting an 8.31 ERA over 4 1/3 innings in his first four appearances of the season, Tigers No. 22 prospect Paul Voelker has locked things down. In his last five outings, the Erie reliever has allowed just two hits and one earned run in seven innings. Voelker has walked only one of the first 43 batters he's faced, which came in his first outing of the season versus Trenton.

Craig Forde is a contributor to MiLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

View More