The five veteran hitters in the Phillies’ everyday lineup have combined for 16 All-Star appearances, 8 Silver Sluggers, one batting title, and two MVPs. They’re earning a total of $118.7 million this season, nearly half the team’s payroll, and more than the ten lowest-spending teams have invested in their entire rosters.
Yet the Phillies’ most valuable player in 2023 isn’t Bryce Harper, Trea Turner, J.T. Realmuto, Nick Castellanos, or Kyle Schwarber.
It’s Bryson Stott.
The 25-year-old is hitting .297/.344/.441 in his sophomore campaign, good for a .785 OPS and 111 wRC+. He has taken full advantage of the new rules, swiping 24 bases in 26 attempts, and adjusted to his new position without a hitch, posting 8 Defensive Runs Saved and 10 Outs Above Average in his first season at second base.
He ranks among the NL leaders in hits, batting average, and contact rate. His sprint speed is in the 87th percentile, and his OAA is in the 98th.
Indeed, Stott is one of only six players with at least 10 OAA, 20 stolen bases, and a wRC+ above 110. The other five are all superstars (or superstars in the making). The Phillies’ second baseman isn’t quite on that superstar level, but with 3.6 FanGraphs WAR on the season, he ranks among the top 20 players in the National League. Baseball Reference likes him even better; his 4.2 bWAR ranks tenth, sandwiched between Corbin Carroll and Austin Riley.
Only eight players rank ahead of Stott on both leaderboards, and all eight will receive MVP votes this fall. Acuña, Betts, Freeman – you know who the guys I’m talking about. That’s excellent company to keep.
What’s more, Stott hasn’t just been good, he’s been consistent, a trait many of his teammates lack. He got off to a hot start in April and hasn’t ever taken his foot off the gas. Quite the opposite, in fact; he has shown meaningful signs of improvement throughout the year, reducing his strikeout rate, increasing his walk rate, and adding some legitimate doubles power to his profile. He’s been chasing less often and making more hard contact as time goes on.
Thus, Bryson Stott has been among the most valuable contributors in the lineup all year. He ranked second on the team in fWAR in April, third in May and June, first in July, and third in August. He has yet to have so much as a 30-game stretch with negative WAR. None of his veteran, All-Star teammates can say the same.
May was his only month with a wRC+ below league average, and even then, he had 12 RBIs, scored 12 runs of his own, and stole five bases to boot. Above all else, he puts the ball in play and finds a way to contribute. It sounds cliché, but this guy just knows how to put the bat on the ball.
Meanwhile, his baserunning and defense have been above average in all five months of the season, according to FanGraphs. He has stolen at least three bases every month and has only made four errors all year. Simply put, Stott is an all-around talent who helps his team win day in and day out. You really can’t ask for much more than that.
Well, you could ask for more from Harper, Turner, Realmuto, Castellanos, and Schwarber. Not to mention Aaron Nola and Alec Bohm. But Stott? He’s been a rock; he’s been a metronome; he’s been the heartbeat of the team. It’s no wonder those around him think he’s going to be a star.
Manager Rob Thomson and the Philadelphia faithful can depend on Bryson Stott at home or away, against lefties or righties, and in any spot in the lineup. All year long, he’s gotten the job done.
The rest of the offense will have to step up if this team is going to make another deep postseason run, but the Phillies wouldn’t be where they are if it weren’t for the consistent performance of their steady, beating heart.
Stats updated prior to game on August 25.