As we get closer and closer to the Philadelphia Phillies’ opening day matchup with the Oakland Athletics, the lineup and defensive set up of the roster is beginning to take more concrete shape. We now know the options in LF, have an idea of who will be playing CF, and have locked down most of the infield, but one spot on the dirt still has some question marks. Coming into the 2022 season, third base seemed to be firmly in the grasp of Alec Bohm, despite him being sent down in 2021 due to bad offense and even worse defense. However, there have recently been whispers throughout spring training of that position suddenly being up for grabs. Now, with only a week left to settle on an opening day option, it appears that there is a smart choice to hold down the hot corner… and it’s not Bohm.

Initially when rumors began swirling that the third base position might be up for grabs, the culprit was supposed to be Johan Camargo, but now a young newcomer has seemed to take the reins at the position. The past couple games down in Clearwater, Bryson Stott has gotten the start at 3B, and it now looks like he could be in line to start there come opening day. The funny thing is, I think that it’s the smart move for the team to play Stott there. The Phillies have spent the past decade rarely making the smart move, especially when it comes to young players. Mickey Moniak, Scott Kingery, Adam Haseley, Spencer Howard; all of these players were either misdrafted or mishandled by the Phils. Now, with a young SS prospect in Stott, it may seem like they’re poised to make another one by bringing him up to play a position he is less comfortable with, but it’s the smart move to do so.

There’s a very simple reason why: this lineup is just so damn good. When you bring up a young player, their defensive ability usual translates well from level to level as they progress through the minors. A good defender is good at A ball and good at AAA ball. The major issue for most players is adjusting to Major League pitching. With a lineup that contains Harper, Hoskins, Castellanos, Realmuto, and Schwarber, there’s no better time to bring up a young stud like Stott and give him a bunch of lower-stress at bats. He would likely be batting 8th or 9th in the lineup, which doesn’t remove the total pressure of facing MLB pitching for the first time, but it certainly reduces it. It’s a great situation for growth, and it also gives Stott a chance to learn from some of the best in the game today, including his good friend Bryce Harper.

So, why wouldn’t the same be true for Alec Bohm? Well, it certainly could be, but the defense ability doesn’t seem to be changing enough to earn him that opportunity. While Stott is not a natural 3rd baseman, he is a better defensive player than Bohm. There are only two ways that Bohm can gain more playing time: significantly improving with his glove, or waiting until the DH spot is an option. With that spot already filled for this season by the combination of Schwarber, Castellanos, and other big bats on their off days in the field, it appears that the more valuable option is the better defender. This Phillies team does not need much more offense, at least on paper. What they do need is someone who is not a complete liability at 3rd. So, for that reason, I’ll take my chances with Bryson Stott, at least for the first stretch of the season. From what we’re seeing down in Clearwater, the Phillies could very possibly do the same.