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Fightins

Phillies promote top prospect Bryson Stott to Reading and more Phillies notes


Bryson Stott will make his Reading debut on Tuesday night. (Cheryl Pursell)

The Reading Fightin Phils announced Tuesday that Phillies top prospect Bryson Stott has been promoted from High-A Jersey Shore to Double-A Reading. Stott will bat second and play shortstop in his Fightins debut on the road Tuesday night against the Somerset Patriots.

Stott, 23, performed well in the first few weeks of the minor-league season. He slashed .288/.453/.548 with five home runs and 10 RBIs. He has as many walks as strikeouts (22) to his name and his .453 on-base percentage led the High-A East League. In the nightcap of a doubleheader on Saturday, Stott hit a two-run home run to right field to tie the game in the seventh inning.

The former first-round pick out of UNLV started 16 of his 22 games with the BlueClaws at shortstop. While his promotion to Reading is a good sign, it remains to be seen if Stott’s gradual ascension up the Phillies’ system will end with a promotion to the big league club in September. Both Didi Gregorius and Jean Segura are under contract through 2022. Phillies Nation ranked Stott as the No. 3 prospect in the Phillies system.

What about Mickey?

Joe Girardi was asked an innocent question after Sunday’s loss against the Tampa Bays Rays: Why did the team promote Travis Jankowski over Mickey Moniak to replace Roman Quinn? The answer was simple. According to Girardi, Jankowski is a true center fielder who has recently swung the bat well in Triple-A and the Phillies are going to need him to come off the bench and play if Odúbel Herrera suffered an injury. But Girardi made a comment about Moniak that raised some questions on what the former No. 1 overall pick’s future in the organization could look like.

“We envision Mickey more as a corner outfielder than a center fielder,” Girardi said Sunday.

Girardi was asked about this comment Tuesday and whether the team saw anything in Triple-A that led them to this conclusion. As it turns out, the Phillies skipper was thinking more about Moniak’s potential role on the team in 2021.

“I think he’s probably played a little bit more corner and it’s maybe where we see him,” Girardi said. “I mean he can play center. I don’t have a problem putting him in center, but with the way our team is constructed, I probably stay with Odúbel there. And you kind of look at the construction of your team and what possibly opens up in the future and those sorts of things.”

The Phillies went into spring training with a five-man competition for the starting job in center field. Out of Moniak, Herrera, Adam Haseley, Roman Quinn and Scott Kingery, there’s an argument to be made that Moniak was the best option from a defensive standpoint. Based on the number of reps set aside for Moniak in spring training, it was clear that the now 23-year-old had a slim chance of outright winning the job to open the season.

Moniak was the team’s starting center fielder in mid-April for a little less than 10 days. He went 3-for-25 and the Phillies quickly pivoted to Herrera.

“I have not seen him play a lot of anywhere, in a sense,” Girardi said. “But I think when you look at prototype center fielders, he probably doesn’t have the speed of a lot of them.”

In a small sample size, Statcast measured Moniak’s sprint speed at 27.8 ft per second, which is slightly higher than Herrera’s 27.6. For reference, New York’s Kevin Pillar also averages 27.8 ft per second. Moniak’s speed is well above league-average and while he’s slower than the average center fielder, he’s not slow enough to prevent him from being a viable big-league center fielder.

But if it came down to it, Girardi wouldn’t be against Moniak playing center field on an everyday basis for the Phillies in 2021.

“I would not be afraid to run him out there every day,” Girardi said.

Pregame Notes

  • Both Bryce Harper and Didi Gregorius began swinging for the first time on Monday. Harper is eligible to return from the injured list on Wednesday, but it’s more likely Harper will be back at some point during the team’s next homestand. Gregorius will most likely need to complete a rehab assignment before returning as he has not played since May 12.
  • The division rival Miami Marlins are the latest team in MLB to reach the 85 percent COVID-19 Tier 1 vaccination rate, which means they are eligible for relaxed protocols. About two-thirds of the league has reached this milestone. The Phillies are not one of them. Girardi was asked if he’s concerned about his team still having to live under strict protocols despite the rest of the country opening up. He reflected on whether the team could return to some kind of normalcy. “I would like to be able to go back to normal, but it’s not going to happen,” Girardi said. “It [doesn’t look like it] anytime soon for us — unless Major League Baseball changed some of their protocols.

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