The heartbreaking meaning behind Phillies top prospect Bryson Stott’s uniform number

Bryson Stott #73 of the Philadelphia Phillies (Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images)
Bryson Stott #73 of the Philadelphia Phillies (Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images) /

Phillies top prospect Bryson Stott’s new uniform number has a heartbreaking meaning behind it

In franchise history, 76 Philadelphia Phillies players have worn the number five on their back, most recently, backup catcher Andrew Knapp.

But when top prospect Bryson Stott makes his presumed big-league debut in 2022, he could choose #5 for a deeply meaningful reason.

The future of the franchise is bringing a special piece of his past with him in the form of his uniform number; in the 2021 Arizona Fall League, Stott switched his uniform number from 10 to 5, to honor his best friend who tragically passed away from cancer during their senior year of high school. Cooper Ricciardi had worn #5 for their high school basketball team. Now, Stott will wear #5 for Ricciardi.

"“[The AFL] gave us options and I saw 5 was an option. It was really a no-brainer for me.”Bryson Stott"

With his best friend’s number on his back, Stott soared in Arizona. Over 26 games, he hit .318/.445/.489 with a .934 OPS, seven doubles, a triple, a pair of home runs, 20 runs scored, and 31 driven in. He stole five bases and walked more (24) than he struck out (14).

The shortstop was the Phillies’ first-round pick in 2019. After COVID forced the cancellation of the 2020 minor league season, Stott began 2021 in high-A Jersey Shore. But after only 22 games there, he was promoted to Double-A Reading. By season’s end, he was in Triple-A, one step away from the big show.

Over 112 games between the three levels this season, Stott hit .299/.390/.486 with a .876 OPS, 26 doubles, two triples, 16 home runs, 71 runs scored, and 49 RBI. He went 10-for-14 in stolen-base attempts. Defensively, he worked as a shortstop and second-basemen in the minor league season, and at short and third in Arizona.

When will Bryson Stott make his Phillies debut?

The Phillies have struggled to develop homegrown talent; as such, Stott’s debut will feel like a turning point for the franchise, which has been remarkably mediocre over the last decade. The young shortstop will join a team that has not reached the postseason since 2011, and until 2021, couldn’t even manage a winning record since their last October run.

Between his meteoric rise through the Phillies farm system during the 2021 minor league season and his performance in the AFL, Stott is now expected to debut early in the 2022 season. President of Baseball Operations Dave Dombrowski told Stott to come into Spring Training with the goal of earning a spot on the Opening Day roster.

And now Knapp is no longer on the team, when Stott’s time comes, #5 will be waiting for him.

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