Scott Kingery, Jojo Romero, Rafael Marchan, Christian Bethancourt, and Travis Jankowski will start the 2021 MLB season in the minors after the Philadelphia Phillies announced Sunday morning that he will be optioned to Lehigh Valley.

All eyes were on Scott Kingery entering Spring Training hoping that he would be able to bounce back from an awful 2020 season – after being diagnosed with COVID-19 – where he finished the year batting .159 with 12 runs, three home runs, and six RBI’s.

Kingery was in the center field competition, but failed to do much of anything during Spring Training. In 44 at-bats, Kingery had just seven hits (.159) with six runs scored, one home run, three RBIs, and two stolen bases. He struck out 19 times this Spring and has a .229 OBP and .529 OPS. There’s something seriously wrong with Kingery’s approach at the plate. Sending him to AAA will allow him to work on his swing while being a part of an everyday lineup is the best possible option for Kingery moving forward. Looking at his best year in 2019 where Kingery hit .258 with 19 home runs, 55 RBIs, and held a .788 OPS in 500 plate appearances, there’s plenty of reason to believe that Kingery will be able to return to a better form than what we have seen of late.

There was indeed a surprise today as LHP JoJo Romero was also optioned to AAA. He pitched well this Spring and it was fully expected for him to make the Opening Day roster. Romero held a 1.04 ERA this Spring over eight games and 8.2 innings pitched. He had two saves and struckout eight. This move clears a spot for Vincent Velasquez to slide into the bullpen and possibly David Hale to make the club as the last bullpen arm. So it seems the Phillies are opting to start with a single left-handed bullpen arm on their Opening Day roster. In a division that contains Freddie Freeman, Juan Soto, Michael Conforto, and other scary lefties, one LHP doesn’t isn’t the wisest decision.

Catcher Rafael Marchan has also been optioned to the minors, which was expected given the fact that J.T. Realmuto and Andrew Knapp are both on the roster.

As expected, catcher Christian Bethancourt, and outfielder Travis Jankowski have also been reassigned to minor-league camp.