Bryson Stott To Make Phillies Opening Day Roster

The Phillies will carry top shortstop prospect Bryson Stott on the Opening Day roster, the team informed reporters (including Todd Zolecki of MLB.com). They’ll need to clear a spot for him on the 40-man roster before Thursday’s game. The team will also carry third baseman Alec Bohm on the big league club. Matt Gelb of the Athletic wrote yesterday that keeping both players on the roster was under consideration.

The pair of young infielders figure to see a good bit of time together on the left side of the infield. Stott, presumably, will play regularly at shortstop. Bohm figures to handle the hot corner on most days, getting another crack to take hold of the position after a sophomore slump saw him optioned to Triple-A late last season.

It’ll be the first MLB look for Stott, whom the Phils selected 14th overall out of UNLV in the 2019 draft. The left-handed hitting infielder was regarded as a well-rounded shortstop prospect coming out of college, and he moved fairly quickly up the minor league ladder. Stott mashed in the low minors late in 2019, and he picked up where he left off last year after the canceled minors season.

The 24-year-old tallied 351 plate appearances with Double-A Reading, hitting .301/.368/.481 with ten homers. Stott posted solid walk and strikeout numbers and earned a late-season bump to Triple-A. Despite playing in only ten games with Lehigh Valley, he’ll step up to the major league level.

Each of Baseball America, The Athletic, ESPN, MLB Pipeline and FanGraphs placed Stott among the game’s top 100 prospects this offseason. FanGraphs was the most bullish of the group, ranking him the #34 prospect in the sport. General consensus among evaluators is that he’ll be a productive everyday player in the near future. Stott doesn’t get overwhelming grades for any of his physical tools, but he’s seen as a polished defensive shortstop with good bat-to-ball skills and average or better raw power.

Stott’s promotion figures to result in less playing time for incumbent shortstop Didi Gregorius. The Phils brought back the veteran on a two-year deal last offseason, but his 2021 production was disappointing. Gregorius hit just .209/.270/.370 in 103 games. President of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski acknowledged at the start of the offseason the 32-year-old wouldn’t be guaranteed the primary shortstop job, pointing to Stott as a possible internal alternative.

John Segura is lined up as the everyday second baseman, and carrying Stott and Bohm could push Gregorius into a utility role. The Phils also signed John Camargo to a one-year deal this winter, giving manager Joe Girardi a few options for juggling playing time. Much figures to depend on how well Stott and Bohm start the season. Bohm, a former #3 overall pick and top prospect, had an excellent rookie showing in 2020 but is coming off a season (.247/.305/.342) not too much stronger than Gregorius’. He still has a pair of minor league option years remaining, increasing the pressure to stake a claim to the everyday third base job early in the season.

As a consensus Top 100 prospect, Stott’s immediate big league promotion could result in the Phils increasing some extra draft capital down the line. The new collective bargaining agreement includes the so-called Prospect Promotion Incentive, a feature that could entitle the Phils to a bonus selection in the amateur or international drafts (if the international draft is ultimately instituted) depending upon his finishes in Rookie of the Year or MVP voting before he reaches arbitration eligibility.

Image courtesy of USA Today Sports.

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