Bethlehem Press

Friday, September 20, 2019

Phillies select a shortstop

Thursday, June 6, 2019 by chuck hixson Special to the Press in Sports

You might call Bryson Stott a ‘Pig in the making.’

The UNLV shortstop was drafted by the Phillies with the 14th overall pick in the MLB Draft, which got underway Monday night. It’s the third year in a row that the Phillies have selected a college position player in the first round.

In his senior season, Stott put up an offensive line of 10-36-.358 with UNLV and showed solid plate discipline by walking more than he struck out, by a margin of 39 to 55. Stott was a Golden Spikes Award semifinalist as the nation’s top college player and was also a finalist for the Brooks Wallace Award, which is given to the top college shortstop each season.

The 6-3 Stott is believed to have all the tools to stick at the shortstop position in the pros because he is rated well above average at the position and has the size and range to continue playing there. In a statement issued by the Phillies, scouting director Johnny Almaraz noted that: “We have selected a dynamic middle infielder who can play exceptional defense, hit for average and hit for power. He is a leader, has tremendous intangibles and we expect great things from him.”

If the connection between the Phillies and Las Vegas sounds familiar, it should. Vegas is the home of Bryce Harper and the Phillies famously traveled to the city to meet with Harper, including a solo trip by principal partner John Middleton, which convinced the free agent to sign with the Phillies late in the winter. There is also a connection between Stott and Harper. Harper’s sister was a high school cheerleader on a team coached by Stott’s mom. As Stott grew older, he and Harper developed a friendship and have kept in touch. Reportedly, Harper took in a couple of Stott’s games during the offseason.

Last year, the Phillies selected outfielder Alec Bohm out of Wichita State with the third overall pick. Bohm is hitting a combined 6-30-.342/.405/.541 between Lakewood and Clearwater this season. In 2017, they selected another outfielder, Adam Haseley with the eighth overall pick. Haseley was an IronPig, but not for long. The Phillies bumped Haseley to Lehigh Valley from Double-A Reading last Wednesday and after Monday night’s game, he was summoned to meet the team in San Diego after Andrew McCutchen went down with a knee injury. Haseley played in six games with the ‘Pigs and drove in four runs, batting .320 (8-for-25). At Reading, Haseley played in 41 games, batting 7-19-.268/.356/.471 and had a torrid month of May where he hit .337 with five home runs and 13 RBI.

By signing Harper, the Phillies forfeited their second-round pick to the Washington Nationals. Their next pick comes in the third-round when they have the 91st overall pick. Only the first two rounds were selected on the opening night of the draft.

NICKY’S BACK... Nick Williams will once again be an IronPig. After being optioned out to Lehigh Valley to get more playing time, Williams was recalled when Odubel Herrera was put on administrative league by Major League Baseball following his arrest on domestic violence charges in Atlantic City on Memorial Day. At the time, it was thought that Williams would see some playing time in left field, but with the acquisition of outfielder Jay Bruce from Seattle, Williams was again optioned back to Lehigh Valley prior to Monday night’s game.

WHERE ARE WE?... The IronPigs wrap up an eight-game road trip today and it’s been a weird one. The trip started with three games in Pawtucket and then moved to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre for three games over the weekend. To start the week, the ‘Pigs were back in Pawtucket to play two games before heading home, but just for two games, also against the PawSox. Then, it’s off to Buffalo for a three-game weekend series, an off-day on Monday and a six-game homestand.

PERSISTENCE PAYS OFF... Tom Eshelman has put together back-to-back strong outings with Lehigh Valley. His first start for the team this season resulted in three earned runs in five innings of work, but since then, he’s allowed just two earned runs in 13 innings over two starts. Overall, he is 1-0 with a 2.50 ERA with Lehigh Valley and has 18 strikeouts in 18 innings and is pitching like he did in 2017 when he was the Phillies Minor League Pitcher of the Year.