At the Yard with Scott Kingery — On comparisons to Chase Utley

NBC Sports Philadelphia

At the Yard with Scott Kingery — On comparisons to Chase Utley

Scott Kingery is off to one of the hottest starts by a Phillies rookie in recent memory. 

Hitting .280 with two homers (one a grand slam) and 12 RBI in his first 13 big-league games, Kingery has already begun to make a name for himself.

Appearing on Jim Salisbury's At the Yard podcast, Kingery talked all things Phils, but most notably he discussed comparisons to the legendary Chase Utley.

"Anytime you’re put in the same sentence as (Chase Utley), that’s an honor," Kingery told Salisbury. "I did watch him and I watched guys like Dustin Pedroia growing up and Derek Jeter. You see the way they play the game and they go about it the right way and they go hard. That’s something I could look up to. For me, it was, you don’t have to be the most talented guy on the field. If you’re out there and you’re hustling and you’re making plays and you’re helping your team win any way you can, that’s what you can look up to. That’s the type of special player that people want on their teams."

Is Kingery — a  second baseman turned super utility fielder —the next Chase Utley?

Listen to the full episode below:


5 takeaways from Phillies president Andy MacPhail's State of the Team address

5 takeaways from Phillies president Andy MacPhail's State of the Team address

CLEARWATER, Fla. – Phillies president Andy MacPhail held his annual spring training press briefing on Friday.

Here are five takeaways:

Committed to Kapler
Manager Gabe Kapler recently found himself in the middle of controversy when a Washington Post story questioned his handling of an assault that took place during his time as director of player development for the Dodgers in 2015.

Kapler defended himself in a 1,300-word post on

MacPhail admitted that he didn’t think everything Kapler did “was a great idea,” but overall he supported his skipper.

“In my career, I've been in a position of hiring people since November of 1986 — general managers, managers, scouting directors, farm directors," MacPhail said. "In my entire history, there's never been a hire that was as fully vetted as this one. And all the stuff that was regurgitated again this winter, there was nothing in there that made me think that the vetting was anything but very thorough, very impartial and very fair. We were satisfied then when we hired him; we're satisfied today.

“So, I’m on him.”

(That’s scouting lingo for MacPhail approves of Kapler.)

Phillies content to wait it out on the big guys
The Phillies are comfortable with the pitches they’ve made to free agents Manny Machado and Bryce Harper and they are willing to wait for their decisions.

“We’re just half the equation,” MacPhail said. “We’re just half the equation.”

Phillies weighing the whole package
Harper and Machado are both great talents. Harper might have more box office appeal. Machado might be the more complete player. The Phils are weighing everything that each player brings.

“There has been no shortage of brain power devoted to trying to size up players that are available to us and what they bring,” MacPhail said. “Just generally speaking, we are uniquely poised right now. There are some great talents out there and any one of those talents could go to any club and make a significant difference. You can make the case they bring different things, but I think they are both beneficial to your club.”

Regardless of what happens, Phillies are better
MacPhail mentioned the Phillies’ improved personnel and defense. He made particular mention of the bullpen and how he believes it is better equipped to handle lefty hitters in the division this season. Right-hander David Robertson has excellent reverse splits and the additions of lefty relievers James Pazos and Jose Alvarez should help.

Attendance check 
Despite the team’s improved personnel, fans are still lukewarm.

The Phils ranked 18th in the majors in attendance at just over 2.15 million (average 26,444) last season. According to MacPhail, game ticket sales are 150,000 ahead of where they were at this point last year.

“The way it has been explained to me is that we’re good, but not great,” MacPhail said.

Signing Harper or Machado will bring a bump.

But nothing will fill the seats more than winning.

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.

More on the Phillies


Odubel Herrera will have to fight for Phillies' starting center field job

USA Today Images

Odubel Herrera will have to fight for Phillies' starting center field job

CLEARWATER, Fla. — Phillies spring training is turning into Camp Competition.

Maikel Franco and Scott Kingery will battle for the third-base job — unless, of course, the Phillies sign Manny Machado or Mike Moustakas.

And Odubel Herrera and Roman Quinn will throw down for the center field job.

“Competition is a really good thing," manager Gabe Kapler said Friday. "I think competition raises your game, it makes you focused, it makes you bring more intensity."

Andrew McCutchen is set at one of the corner outfield spots, probably left field. That leaves Herrera, Quinn, Nick Williams and Aaron Altherr looking for reps in center and right — unless the Phillies sign Bryce Harper.

Kapler has met with Herrera and told him that he will have to earn the center field job.

Herrera, in camp early and looking lean and ready to rumble after getting in the gym and dropping 20 pounds this winter, is prepared to win the job.

“My mentality is that I’m still the center fielder,” he said Friday. “All that I can control is the work that I put in on the field. The rest is up to the front office and the staff. They make the decisions.”

Late last season, Herrera lost playing time in center field to Quinn. Herrera’s overall game slipped in the second half. He hit just .189 with a .530 OPS over the final two months of the season, not quite what the Phillies had come to expect after Herrera made the All-Star team in 2016 and signed a five-year, $30.5 million contract extension later that year.

Kapler and general manager Matt Klentak pulled no punches with Herrera at the end of last season. They told him he needed to get into better physical condition and eliminate mental lapses in the field and on the bases.

Performance will offer the ultimate verdict, but, so far, Herrera is doing and saying the right things.

“I think part of the maturity of a player is to know what you’ve done wrong and what you can do better,” he said through Diego Ettedgui, the team’s Spanish-language translator. “So I took this offseason just to get better and work hard. I’ve learned from my mistakes and I’m definitely more motivated.

“I understand this year there is more competition and honestly I think it makes me better when I have competition around me. It gets the best out of me, because I know I have to play better. There’s pressure that you need to perform.”

Herrera’s improved physical condition is tangible.

Improvements in concentration can only be measured over time.

“That’s definitely an area where we want to raise the bar for Odubel,” Kapler said. “If he is the guy that we got closer to the beginning of last season when he was one of the best players in baseball, you’re not going to be able to keep him out of the lineup or be able to keep him off the field.”

The Phillies have hired Paco Figueroa, a former instructor in the Dodgers system, as their new outfield coach.

“He is known for developing relationships with Spanish speakers and he’s known for his ability to ask for a little bit more and get somebody to step up and meet that bar,” Kapler said. “The relationship that Odubel and Paco develop will be very important this season.”

Herrera, 27, admitted that he needs to improve his concentration.

“There definitely were times when I knew I could have focused more last season,” he said.

He said he did not know what caused the lack of focus.

“For a baseball player, it’s not easy to stay motivated because obviously it’s a long season,” Herrera said. “But my main focus is to keep that concentration going all season and through nine innings every game and the whole season.”

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.

More on the Phillies