Image credit: Bryson Stott (Photo by Bill Mitchell)
When Almaraz met with Stott for the first time in the winter, his affinity for the Nevada-Las Vegas shortstop grew further.
“As far as his character is concerned, he’s a high-character individual,” Almaraz said. “When you see him on the field and meet with him off the field, there are intuitive values that are important to me. I have a checklist, and he checked all the boxes. He’s a high-character, passionate person who wants to be good.”
The Phillies drafted Stott with the No. 14 overall pick on Monday night. It was the third straight year they took a college position player with their first pick, following Adam Haseley in 2017 and Alec Bohm in 2018.
“It was very attractive to us,” Almaraz said. “He’s someone who has always hit, he’s a very good defender, he knows how to play the game. We have a polished young player here with outstanding makeup. I was very, very happy to get him at 14.”
It was the rewarding end to a long journey for Stott, who was a lightly recruited, undersized Las Vegas-area high schooler who stayed home at his local school and blossomed into one of the nation’s best college shortstops.
“In high school I wasn’t the biggest kid, I was always the smaller one,” Stott said. “I felt I needed to go to college and build my frame. Just the part of going to college and getting my physical strength was big.”
That increased physical strength led to a potent bat that attracted the Phillies. Almaraz said he felt Stott could handle second base, third base and shortstop while also being a threat offensively, and that he would be in Philadelphia sooner rather than later.
“He’s an advanced player. We feel he’s going to have a very favorable timeline as far as getting to the big leagues is concerned,” Almaraz said.
“We see him as a very productive major leaguer. We think is going to hit for average power. What I mean by that 15-20 home runs, a lot of doubles, hit at the top of the lineup somewhere and play shortstop.”