PHILADELPHIA — This is the first time in Bryson Stott’s life that he has been on a baseball team and not played.
He has not started since Monday in Colorado. He has not played since Tuesday, when he pinch-hit in the ninth inning. Stott is boxed out, for the moment, because others are hot and he is not. He is batting .133 (4-for-30) with one double, three RBIs and a .328 OPS. Alec Bohm made his fifth consecutive start at third base on Saturday. He is batting .440 (11-for-25) with two doubles, one home run, nine RBIs and a 1.095 OPS. Johan Camargo made his third consecutive start at shortstop while Didi Gregorius recovers from a bruised left hand. Camargo is batting .368 (14-for-38) with two doubles, one home run, six RBIs and a .900 OPS.
“You know, I’m not sure,” Phillies manager Joe Girardi said, asked when Stott might make the lineup again. “With these two guys rolling, I’ve just kind of stuck with them. It’s something we’ll talk about as we move forward here. But, yeah, it’s been a few days, but these other guys are playing so well. I’m not changing anything.”
Both need to play because both need to develop.
“It’s too soon to decide anything,” Girardi said. “We still really believe in him. We think he’s going to be a really good player for us. But right now, I’m just kind of riding some hot hands.”
In the meantime, Stott is trying to be as prepared as possible for his next opportunity.
“I’m trying to treat BP and infield [practice] like it’s a game,” he said. “So when I go into the game to pinch-hit or play defense, I’m ready. But, yeah, it’s been different. Obviously, at the beginning, we were all playing. But Camargo and Bohm are playing as good as anybody in MLB, in my opinion. Obviously, there’s stuff that you don’t need to change. How they’re playing and how they’re swinging, obviously as a team we’re playing a whole lot better, and I think a lot has to do with how those two are playing. Sometimes you have to watch. I’ve never done it, but it is what it is.”
How to handle Bohm and Stott remains a constant topic of conversation within the Phillies’ front office. The Phillies have a lot riding on Bohm and Stott developing into productive, everyday players.
“There’s always going to be a balancing act between optimizing for winning every Major League game that you can, and also getting guys opportunities to develop,” Phillies general manager Sam Fuld said. “It’s a constant conversation that we have. How do you strike that balance? Credit to Alec for the way that he’s started the season, especially given that he wasn’t out there every day early and had to bide his time a little bit. He’s done nothing but perform really on both sides of the ball recently.
“Everybody knows if it’s Bryson or anybody else who isn’t currently getting playing time, everybody knows they just have to be ready for that opportunity when they get it.”