The Phillies leadoff gig is now Bryson Stott’s to lose.
Kyle Schwarber held the role for much of the season, but Phillies manager Rob Thomson on Sunday flipped him with Stott, who has now hit leadoff in each of the last two games.
Stott long has been a natural fit for the role. He can hit to all fields and has good speed, and having someone like that on base for Trea Turner, Bryce Harper and Nick Castellanos is a huge asset.
So, until performance says otherwise, expect Stott to be hitting first every night.
“Yeah, I think (he’ll stay there), unless we’re giving him a day off,” Thomson said Wednesday in his weekly appearance on the 94 WIP Morning Show. “It’s always subject to change depending on how guys are performing, but I’ve said all along he’s got the DNA to be a leadoff guy because he sees a lot of pitches, he understands the strike zone and he can hit and use the entire field.”
While Stott is an obvious fit for the job, it’s one that Schwarber has occupied pretty much since he signed in Philadelphia.
Clearly, there’s comfort there for Schwarber, which led to Thomson, by his own admission, grappling with the decision.
“When Harper came back and we had to choose between Stott and Schwarber, I went back and forth quite a bit. And I finally decided on Schwarbs just because we did it last year. He's comfortable there, he claims that he’s most comfortable in the leadoff spot. But we got six or seven games in, Kevin and I sat down and we thought maybe we just flip those guys and maybe it will get them both going – because really, Stotter was on a little bit of a downturn as well. And since we’ve flipped them, both guys have performed well. We’ll ride it for now and see what happens."
Telling a veteran he’s getting bumped from a spot he likes for a young player can be a precarious situation for a manager. Schwarber, the commensurate pro, took it well.
“It’s a conversation, but I think at that point I was basically telling him I’m going to flip you guys," Thomson said. "He understood completely, he’s, as we all know, a great team guy and all he wants to do is win. But he understood, it was not a problem whatsoever.”
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