Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Reading's Kingery surging on offense thanks to off-season focus

Kingery, image- Jay Floyd
Another day, another home run for Phillies second base prospect Scott Kingery.

A deep drive to left field off of Yankees number six prospect Justus Sheffield on Monday night on the road in Trenton would be the 23-year-old's minor league leading 14th homer of the season.

The big fly marked Kingery's fifth round tripper in his last four games with the Double-A Reading Fightin Phils.

With all the fireworks on display, the Phillies' second round draft choice from 2015 still doesn't feel that he's a power hitter.

"I've been talking with (hitting coach John) Mizerock and I believe this as I go up, some of those home runs, they're going to start being doubles," Kingery stated following Monday's series opener.  "I think I'm a gap to gap guy.  I'll have my fair share of home runs.  I'll run into a few.  But it's been a line drive swing and I've tried to keep that approach and right now, they're getting out."

Kingery's home ballpark, First Energy Stadium has a reputation for being kind to hitters, but the home field isn't fully responsible for the righty hitter's surge.  Six of his 14 home runs have come on the road.

Additionally, Kingery is batting .290 with 28 RBI and nine stolen bases in 10 attempts in 38 total games to date this season. 

The output this year is a considerable turnaround from the.250 average with two home runs, 18 RBI and four steal in 37 games for Reading after a promotion from Class A Advanced Clearwater last season.

Reading skipper Greg Legg, who managed Kingery last season with the Threshers, cited the biggest difference from last year to this season.

"He's stronger," Legg said.  "He knew what to expect.  Everything else is the same.  The defense was great.  He was leading the (Florida State) League in doubles last year.  Now some of them are leaving the yard."

Kingery, an Arizona product, admits the grind of his first full professional season took its toll on his offensive numbers last season.  And that was a major focus for him over the off-season.

"In the off-season I really focused on trying to put on a lot of weight and muscle because I felt like I was losing weight the whole season and by the end I was just worn down.  It was about putting on muscle and weight and keeping my playing weight higher than it was last year," Kingery asserted.

"I had to bulk up as much as I could and keep shoveling food down my mouth and just trying to get some extra weight."

News out of the Phils organization on Monday revealed that injured Triple-A Lehigh Valley second baseman Jesmuel Valentin, out of action since May 12th when he was injured in the field on a diving play in extra innings, may miss the remainder of the season following shoulder surgery.  That bit of information sparked many thoughts about moving Kingery up a level to take on more of a challenge.

That's a topic far from the mind of the player, however. 

"I'm here right now.  I've got to focus and improve every day here and do what I need to do to get better and prove that I can go up to that next level, so if I do get that call, I'll be ready."


Additional quotes from Legg and Kingery can be found by clicking here.
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