Stott showing his versatility

Bryson Stott’s first defensive chance not playing shortstop in professional baseball seemed rather banal, but turned out quite interesting in a hurry.

The Williamsport Crosscutters’ infielder drifted back from his spot at second base working his way under a pop-up hit by State College’s David Vinsky in shallow center field. But as the Phillies first-round pick began boisterously calling for the ball, so did center fielder Johan Rojas who was charging hard toward the spot.

The two ran into each other as Stott reached up his gloved left hand to squeeze the baseball for the first inning’s second out. Stott and Rojas looked at each other and smiled. Disaster was averted and the out was recorded, so there was reason to brush off the brief encounter.

Stott hadn’t played second base since he was playing summer ball in the Northwoods League in 2017 following his freshman season at UNLV, but he surely didn’t seem out of place Sunday when he played second base. And although the chances were few Monday night at third base, he handled himself quite well there as well.

“The angles are a little different, but groundballs are groundballs,” Stott said Sunday.

Don’t be alarmed by Stott be tried out at different positions on back-to-back days. The only position players on the team who haven’t played multiple positions this year are Rudy Rott, Mitch Edwards and Logan O’Hoppe. Rott is a first-base only player, and O’Hoppe, a catcher, has worked at first base during batting practice but hasn’t played there in a game. And Edwards has played solely catcher since signing with the Phillies.

But the Phillies have preached positional versatility. Even on the big league team Scott Kingery has played more games at four other positions than he has at his natural position of second base. And, should there be a promotion to Lakewood in the final weeks of the season for Stott, there would have to be some positional flexibility because of the presence of top prospect Luis Garcia and former Crosscutter shortstop Jonathan Guzman, who have manned the middle infield for most of the season for the BlueClaws.

But other than his run-in with Rojas in the first inning Sunday, Stott’s last two days have been relatively uneventful. He turned a pair of double plays Sunday playing second base, one to get Victor Vargas out of a tough spot in the seventh inning and one to end the fifth inning. Monday, playing third base, Stott made a fantastic bare-hand play cutting off Kendall Simmons at shortstop on a swinging bunt and throwing out the Spikes’ Pedro Pages at first.

A scout said recently he was impressed with how Stott fields the ball at shortstop but wondered if he’d be able to stick at shortstop long term because of his arm strength. Although the scout mentioned he would not be surprised at all to see Stott play shortstop in the big leagues, he said there’s a noticeable hump in the path of throws Stott makes from shortstop to first base.

It’s an area evaluators seemed to be split on heading into the draft in June where Stott was the 14th overall selection. Stott’s evaluation on the MLB Draft Tracker noted “While Stott does show off a plus arm at times, the one area there’s a split camp might be his ability to play shortstop in the big leagues. Most give him a chance to stick there, given his makeup and instincts.”

It’s a terribly small sample size, but in 85 chances and 197 2/3 innings over 25 games and three positions as a professional this summer, Stott has yet to make an error. He was back to his natural position of shortstop in Tuesday’s series finale against State College.

“He didn’t look out of place at either position,” Cutters manager Pat Borders said.

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