With one out in the bottom of the ninth inning, the Philadelphia Phillies and Cincinnati Reds were tied at two a piece with Bryson Stott coming to the place. Brandon Marsh, the winning run was on second base.
Stott got just enough of the barrel on the ball to squeeze a ball through the right side into right field. Marsh easily scored on the play and the Phillies had won the ball game. Stott already had a signature moment of the season and it was only April 8.
Stott's early season walk off and consistent play throughout the season landed him on The Athletic's top 20 breakout players of 2023. The list, made by Jim Bowden comprises his top 20 players who made a significant jump in production from last season to the current one.
Landing at No.10 on the list, Stott's well improved offensive numbers mixed with his consistency in the field rising because of the position change have placed him as one of the best young second baseman in the game. Suffice it to say, he has improved in every category in 2023.
In 2023, Stott has raised his batting average nearly .050 and his OPS by .100. While his power is not fully there yet, it is improving. He's gone from 19 to 31 doubles and 10 to 15 home runs. His 159 hits puts him at twentieth in baseball with a week to go.
On the defensive side, Stott has changed positions but has looked stellar. With the signing of Trea Turner, Stott was moved to second base. While shortstop is the position he played throughout his collegiate and minor league career, he did not look the best defensively in 2022 at the position. His arm was simply not as strong as an average MLB shortstop and he wasn't consistent enough. Yet, Stott played shorstop on a team that came within two wins of winning the World Series, showing he could come up big when it mattered most.
In 2022, Stott had -5 defensive runs saved above average. In 2023 at second base, he has +5. Stott has made just five errors in 144 games this season. The five errors come on 579 chances, a ridiculous .991 fielding percentage.
Despite the change in position, Stott had showed his poise and ability to adapt to what the team needs. Trea Turner coming to the team meant a change for him, but he did what was best for the success of the club and has excelled in his new role.
Stott's defensive metrics are through the room as his outs above average or his range is in the 99th percentile. Additionally, his sprint speed is in the 89th percentile allowing him to steal many bases along the way.
He is tied for fifteenth in the league with 29 stolen bases. He even has the same amount as Turner. The larger bases have improved stolen base numbers drastically across Major League baseball and Stott has took advantage. He had just 12 stolen bases in all of 2023, but he is the type of player who has the skillset to steal bases.
What has made Stott so improved this year has been finishing at bats with contact on the ball. He was compiling great at bats, but had little to show for it. Now, Stott is having these at bats and finishing them with putting the ball in play because of his great contact ability. His whiff % is in the 95th percentile and his K% is in the 88th.
A great example from the 2022 postseason of Stott beginning to turn the corner was in the bottom of the third inning in game three of the NLDS. After facing eight straight fastballs from Spencer Strider and fighting them all away, Stott took a hanging slider down the right field line to score Brandon Marsh, give the Phillies the lead, and record his first postseason hit.
Stott's ability to hang in at bats has made him a staple of the Phillies lineup in his short career and a future star who only looks to be improving his ability in all aspects of the game. Landing on The Athletic's top 20 breakout candidates was just the first step in many accolades coming to Stott in the future in Philadelphia and MLB.