Bryson Stott smoked a 104.8 mph RBI-double down the right field line on Saturday in the Arizona Fall League's Fall Stars Game to put the West on top 1-0 in the third at-bat of the game.
This doesn't come as a surprise though, as the Philadelphia Phillies second-ranked prospect has been consistently turning heads this fall, including those in the front office of the team that drafted him 14th overall in 2019.
Stott's showing in the Fall League, including a .319/.454/.458 slashline, 8 extra-base hits, 20 walks, 2 home runs, and 22 RBI; and his campaign across 112 games in the minor leagues in 2021, hitting .299 with a .876 OPS, 26 doubles, 16 home runs, 49 RBI, and 65 walks, got fans thinking:
Are we looking at the Phillies' everyday shortstop for 2022?
When the Phillies signed Didi Gregorius to a two-year deal in January, the belief was that he would fulfill the shortstop position until Stott was fully ready for big-league action. But after a lackluster 2021 at the plate, that saw Gregorius batting just .209, and in the field, with 18 errors (tied for sixth in MLB), it prompted the Phillies to not guarantee Gregorius as the 2022 Opening Day shortstop.
The Phillies have been eager for a solution to their shortstop problem since franchise icon Jimmy Rollins departed from the team back in 2014, and Zach Buchanan of The Athletic notes that 19 players have started a game at shortstop for the Phillies since, with only Freddy Galvis playing more than 162 games there.
Even with a historic class of free-agent shortstops this winter, President of Baseball Operations Dave Dombrowski and the rest of the Philadelphia front office are sincerely hoping that Stott can be the guy that finally solidifies himself at the position. Plus, the belief is that they'd rather spend their money on the outfield and pitching. According to The Philadelphia Inquirer's Matt Breen, Dombrowski told Stott to "come with the mindset of trying to win a spot with the big-league club when you come to spring training."
From an offensive standpoint, it seems Stott would have no major issues satisfying a spot in the Phillies lineup. There are some questions surrounding his defense, though, as Buchanan notes that Stott, "at 6-foot-3 and 200 pounds, is on the bigger side for a shortstop." But the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) product has been working with coaches, including Phillies' new infield coach Bobby Dickerson, on his first-step quickness by fielding a multitude of groundballs in defensive drills.
"Your first steps can never be too good," Stott said. "You can never think they're too good and you can never stop working at that."
Buchanan continues that Stott does have admirable defensive skills, moving "smoothly and athletically," and possessing "plenty of arm strength." Quite frankly, Stott cannot be any worse than what the Phillies have produced defensively at shortstop since 2015, tied for 25th-worst in Defensive Runs Saved (-44) at the position. And with the 24-year-old's confidence and attitude, he will be determined to not fall under the Phillies' failed experiments at shortstop.
Preston Mattingly, the Phillies' new Director of Player Development, is optimistic that Stott will be Philadelphia's shortstop of the future. "In the long run, this kid is going to be a shortstop," he said. "We're trying to groom a total player, and that's what Bryson is in our opinion."
Stott also sees himself as a shortstop, telling reporters that "the manager's writing the lineup and I'm playing short," he said. "That's where my feet are going to be."
While Stott is closer to being major league ready offensively than defensively, those working closely with him and watching him play believe he is on the right path to being ready in that facet as well. Whether he is on the Phillies' 2022 Opening Day roster remains to be seen, but it's more than likely he will be with the big league club sooner rather than later.
Stott has the faith of Dombrowski, Mattingly, and others in the Philadelphia front office in him, and all reports about him display that he is dedicated to showing the Phillies he is ready to take on a role at the major league level.
More From SI's Inside The Phillies:
- Report: Phillies Interested in Starling Marte and Aaron Loup
- Phillies Hire Former Rays Director as Assistant GM
- Bold Phillies Predictions for the 2022 MLB Season