Ex-Wildcat Scott Kingerly becoming MiLB’s top leadoff hitter

Scott Kingery was a stud for the Arizona Wildcats baseball team from 2013-2015 before getting drafted by the Philadelphia Phillies. Since then, he has plowed his way through minor league baseball and this year has taken the Eastern League by storm.

Against Double-A New Hampshire on Memorial Day Monday, Kingery saw the first pitch of the game come his way and he belted it to right field for a leadoff home run. That had the Fisher Cats behind the eight ball the entire game and Double-A Reading went on to win 4-2 in Manchester, N.H.

That solo shot was Kingery’s 16th home run of the season. No other player in any of the six minor league levels have as much. He leads the Eastern League in home runs and runs scored. In short, he is becoming the best leadoff hitter in minor league baseball.

It’s no doubt that the Phillies are grooming their 11th ranked prospect to be their lead-off infielder of the future, and it’s coming sooner than one would’ve originally thought just a year ago. Kingery has shown the type of power at the top of the batting order that reminds folks of Alfonso Soriano but he prefers not to be put in the “home run hitter” box.

“Everyone keeps asking me if I’m a home-run hitter and I keep telling them no,” Kingery told MiLB.com. “I’m honestly just trying to put a good line-drive swing on the ball, and for some reason I’m hitting them in the air and they’re getting some carry on them.

Power aside, Kingery has demonstrated in this season’s first two months to be the complete package. Not only does he lead the Eastern League in home runs and runs scored, but also extra-base hits, total bases and slugging percentage, as well as being tied for third in stolen bases, which he admits is a new thing for him.

“I don’t think I’ve ever had more home runs than stolen bases at any point in my career,” he told MiLB.com.

Kingery said the key to his breakout season came from the many key tweaks he made during the winter.

“I made a few adjustments in the offseason to stay on my back leg more,” he told MiLB.com. “Last season, I was doing a lot of drifting forward and getting off balance and lunging at balls. Staying back on my back leg gives me a chance to get some good swings on off-speed pitches.”

Kingery reached Double-A Reading in his first full season in pro ball and now he’s dominating it in his second. It may not be long before he becomes one of the key cornerstones of the Phillies’ rebuilding project.

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Sports Kave senior writer

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