In 2019, the Philadelphia Phillies drafted Bryson Stott hoping he would be their shortstop of the future. Plans changed when the club signed Trea Turner last offseason to an 11-year deal. Stott had no issue moving to second base and made great strides at the position he'll be spending much of his time at until at least 2027.
The Las Vegas native took a step forward in just about every facet of his game in 2023. At the plate, Stott improved upon his .234/.295/.358 2022 slash line and went on to hit .280/329/.419 this past season. The second baseman played 151 games in 2023. He recorded 15 home runs and 62 RBI — which weren't huge improvements from 2022 (10 and 49). His baserunning improved greatly as he stole 31 bases last season, compared to 12 two years ago.
Defensively, the former first-round pick finished as a Gold Glove Award finalist at his position. His six defensive runs saved at second base in 2023 was a considerable improvement over his minus-five defensive runs saved at shortstop in 2022.
Stott showed his value to the Phillies in 2023
Overall, Stott's value to the club took a major turn for the better. He advanced in almost every statistical category — including being tied with Zack Wheeler for the highest bWAR on the team. In fact, he was named one of MLB.com's unexpected breakout stars of the season. If the 24-year-old takes another leap forward in 2024, he could become a bona fide star in the league.
One of Stott's biggest strengths is his ability to work a count and see pitches. In a lineup known for chasing pitches out of the zone, the young middle infielder has one of the best approaches on the team. He sees 4.17 pitches per plate appearance — the MLB average is 3.90. His ability to foul off pitches has helped him work deep counts. His contact percentage in 2023 was 84.7 percent, which is significantly higher than the 74.3 percent league average.
Is Stott ready to become a face of the franchise?
His ability to see pitches and limit strikeouts makes him a prime candidate for a breakout in 2024. In just a small sample size, it's apparent that Stott has learned how to advance as a player. It wouldn't be surprising to see the second baseman take another step forward next season.
Many things that Stott does pass the eye test, too. Fans have seen him make great plays at second base. He comes up with big hits — perhaps none bigger than his grand slam in the NL Wild Card Series against the Miami Marlins.
Stott is also a huge part of the Phillies' vibrant clubhouse culture. He and Brandon Marsh are known for dumping water and whatever else they have at their disposal on the player getting interviewed postgame.
The Phillies are in a good spot to retain many of their young players. Stott, for example, won't become a free agent until after the 2027 season. If he keeps progressing and improving as he reaches his prime, the Phillies will be in a great spot as some veteran players age. It won't be surprising to see Stott become one of the main faces of the franchise in the next few seasons.