SCOTTSDALE- Shortstop Bryson Stott, the Philadelphia Phillies number two prospect, went three-for-five with a home run in the Peoria Javelinas 4-0 win over the Scottsdale Scorpions last Thursday night.
Stott entered the game leading the Javelinas in runs batted in with 21, but Thursday night added more pressure for the 24-year-old shortstop.
As Stott dug in for his first plate appearance against Boston Red Sox prospect Connor Seabold, two groups of eyes were watching him.
The first belonged to his family, who traveled down from his hometown Las Vegas dressed head-to-toe in UNLV and Phillies gear.
The other group of eyes were more serious.
Philadelphia Phillies president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski, along with general manager Sam Fuld, and former players Howie Kendrick and Larry Bowa were all there to assess Stott.
The Phillies’ number-two prospect and Bryce Harper’s Spring Training roommate is the hopeful future for Dombrowski and Fuld. The Phillies haven’t made the playoffs since 2011 and a large part of that has been their inability to develop top prospects.
“I don’t think there’s pressure because everyone wants to get in the playoffs,” Bowa said. “We’ve had opportunities the last few years and come up short in the last month, but we’ve got pieces in place and we just got to play more consistent baseball.”
Consistency was the key for Stott in his first two at-bats. Both times he drove the ball up the middle for singles but was unable to be brought around the base paths.
The game remained a scoreless pitcher’s duel until the fifth inning. The left-handed Stott, already two-for-two, faced Scorpion’s left hander Matt Turner. On a 2-1 count, Stott drove the ball over the wall and into the right center field bullpen for a home run to give the Javelinas a 1-0 lead.
Stott’s family was ecstatic, while the Phillies front office behind home plate showed a little smile.
“He had a tremendous game tonight,” Dombrowski said. “All the way around, he hit the ball solidly multiple times and he hit the ball out of the ballpark.”
In the sixth inning, the Javelinas would add two more runs, extending their lead to 3-0 on two hits by Jose Caballero and Luke Waddell.
Stott would be robbed of a hit in his fourth at-bat after a broken bat chopper to second baseman Christian Koss, who barehanded the ball and flipped it behind his back to get the out. In his fifth and final at-bat, he grounded out, but the Phillies management had already seen enough.
“We’re looking at the spot,” Dombrowski said. “We already have Didi [Gregorius] signed and now we’re in a position where with Stott he needs to come to camp with the idea that he has a chance to win a job, so sure he’s an alternative for us.”
In one of the most loaded shortstop free agency classes of all-time, the biggest spenders might be going with a rookie instead. It’s not the only changes the Phillies will make this year either. Dombrowski hinted at going after a big market closer, addressing the holes in the outfield, and will be looking at one of Stott’s old teammates to return to third base.
“We’re looking at Alec Bohm as our third baseman, but he has to win the job, too,” Dombrowski said.
With a team dominated by payroll players, the Phillies left side could look a little different heading into 2022.
“Well, I’ve watched Stott all summer and he’s made great strides and improvements,” Bowa said. “It’s just a matter of time before he gets to the big leagues.”