Bryson Stott went into his sophomore 2023 season wanting to improve his numbers against fastballs. Not only did the now 26-year-old accomplish that feat, but he also asserted himself as one of the better second basemen in the National League with an excellent all-around performance that culminated in a Gold Glove nomination.
2023 regular season stats: 151 G, .280/.329/.419, 104 OPS+, 15 HRs, 62 RBIs, 31 SBs, 4.4 WAR
2023 postseason stats: 13 G, .239/.294/.326, .620 OPS, 1 HR, 9 RBIs, 5 SBs, 14 Ks, 4 BB
Among NL second basemen that played at least 140 games at the position, Stott was 5th in WAR (4.3), 3rd in AVG (.280), and 4th in OPS (.747). Stott ultimately did not win the Gold Glove he was nominated for, but he still led all NL second basemen with 16 Outs Above Average and an 11.3 defensive fWAR rating. He had the second fewest errors (5) among qualified 2B and the third most Defensive Runs Saved (6).
That's Gold Glove finalist Bryson Stott pic.twitter.com/YE3HkHeBoU— Talkin’ Baseball (@TalkinBaseball_) October 22, 2023
Stott’s best feature throughout the season was his ability to collect two strike hits. His 83 two-strike hits were the best in the NL and only three behind Bobby Witt Jr. for the best in all of baseball. He routinely worked deep counts and gave pitchers headaches by fouling off numerous pitches when behind in the count, resulting in his 4.17 pitches seen per plate appearance. As for his previous struggles with the fastball, Stott raised his AVG and SLG against heaters nearly 100 points each, from .209 to .303 and .324 to .437 respectively.
In the postseason, Stott delivered an iconic moment when he blasted a first pitch grand slam off of Marlins lefty Andrew Nardi in the bottom of the 6th inning in the decisive Game 2 of the Wild Card series. Stott became just the second player in Phillies franchise history with a grand slam in the postseason, with the other being Shane Victorino in 2008 off of C.C. Sabathia in the 2008 NLDS.
stott grand slam w/ no commentators thx to ESPN's dolby 5.1 mix pic.twitter.com/2vhUzWKpup— jaiden (@steph_turkey) October 5, 2023
For as good as Stott was at making contact and controlling the strike zone, he still struggled to draw walks. Despite having a whiff percentage in the 95th percentile and a strikeout percentage (15.6%) well below league average, Stott’s 6.1 BB% was second lowest on the Phillies behind Nick Castellanos (5.4%) and well short of the league average of 8.8%. Stott has shown that he can get hits in any count, but he hasn’t quite mastered the art of taking ball four when he’s ahead. That is one of the last barriers to Stott becoming a perennial All-Star candidate.
Stott may have been the Phillies most consistent player over the course of the full season, but he hit a wall in September and October. In 26 regular season games during those months, Stott hit .204 with a .557 OPS and struck out 21 times. He improved in the postseason, especially from his 2022 numbers, but still was rather pedestrian overall outside of the grand slam.
Stott will enter 2024 in his third full season in the majors fresh off of a breakout season. He still needs to improve when it comes to talking walks, especially if he wants to become more of a factor in the postseason. But he figures to once again be one of the Phillies best-all around players with defense taken into account, provided he can hold his offensive gains and continue to improve his on-base skills and power, as he raised his XBH total from 31 in 2022 to 49 in 2023.
The Phillies may look to explore contract extension discussions, but an agreement is unlikely for two reasons. 2024 is Stott’s last year of pre-arbitration and he will not be a free agent until the 2028 season when he turns 30, so there’s no rush to lock him up. Also, Stott is represented by Scott Boras who is notorious for advising his clients to go through the arbitration process and hit free agency when they are eligible. It’s almost unheard of for a Boras client to agree to a long-term agreement this early in the process.