Stott, O'Hoppe swiftly ascend Phillies' system
Each offseason, MiLB.com goes position by position across each system and honors the players -- regardless of age or prospect status -- who had the best seasons in their organization. Click here to locate your favorite club. Over the past couple seasons, the Phillies have gotten closer to playoff contention,
Each offseason, MiLB.com goes position by position across each system and honors the players -- regardless of age or prospect status -- who had the best seasons in their organization. Click here to locate your favorite club.
Over the past couple seasons, the Phillies have gotten closer to playoff contention, with homegrown talent complementing big free agent signings.
While the next herd of young talent might not be ready to fully contribute out of the gate in 2022, several prospects advanced to Triple-A in their full-season debuts, most notably Bryson Stott and Logan O’Hoppe.
Stott and O'Hoppe kept rolling in the Arizona Fall League, where they were among the league's top players -- a feat especially impressive given the high level of competition on the circuit. The former led the league with 31 RBIs and 24 walks while the latter was right behind him with 21 free passes.
The 21-year-old’s 86 hits and 17 doubles topped Jersey Shore for the entire season, even after his August promotion. According to Phillies assistant GM Jorge Velandia, O’Hoppe utilized the canceled 2020 season to work on his hitting. Across the three levels, he batted .270/.331/.458 with 17 homers and 58 RBIs.
“He has the ability to recognize secondary stuff and hitting counts and staying through the ball to generate the natural power that he brings to the table on the offensive side of things,” Velandia said by phone last month. “He’s an offensive catcher, but for him, the most important thing is how to handle his pitching staff and the leadership that he brings to the table.”
Behind the dish, O’Hoppe threw out 25 percent of would-be base stealers while yielding eight passed balls. Velandia has been most impressed with the catcher’s work ethic, which earned him the Dernell Stenson Sportsmanship Award in the AFL this year.
First baseman --
Second baseman -- Daniel Brito, Reading (63 games), Lehigh Valley (eight games): Brito started off strong for the Fightins before really turning it on and sizzling in June and July. The left-handed hitter registered a .296/.363/.457 slash line with six long balls and 11 RBIs at Double-A before his promotion to Triple-A. Brito homered in his debut, then kept it going with eight hits and another dinger in his first six games.
Unfortunately, the 23-year-old collapsed on the field on July 31 and needed emergency surgery. Brito stayed in the hospital for two months before being transferred to a rehab facility. Velandia said the Venezuela native is doing well and continues to get better.
Did somebody say #SCTop10 !?!?— Reading Fightin Phils (@ReadingFightins) June 25, 2021
What a play from Daniel Brito!@MiLB @mlb @SportsCenter @69Sports @SENetworkTV pic.twitter.com/2tIRZ3JiO5
Third baseman --
Overall, the 18-year-old led all qualified Phillies Minor Leaguers with a .327 average, a .470 OBP, a 1.43 BB/K rate and a 147 wRC+. What’s more, Brito thrived with runners in scoring position, batting .396 compared to .260 with no one on. The Venezuela native showed off versatility with the glove, playing every position except pitcher and catcher this summer.
“He has a beautiful swing that creates a natural extension to hit doubles and home runs,” Velandia said. “He knows how to drive the ball to the other side of the field and he knows how to pull the ball.”
Although his power grades out at a 45, Stott showed some pop, leaving the yard 16 times across the three levels. Adding strength at the Phillies’ alternate training camp last summer, the left-handed hitter registered a .299/.390/.486 slash line.
Velandia said the UNLV product is a leader on the field and is always watching the catcher to make sure he’s in the right position. And while Stott spent time at second and third this year to boost his versatility, the Phillies view him as a true shortstop.
“His swing decisions got better; his two-strike approach got better,” Velandia said. “The quality of at-bat got better throughout the year. His defense has always been there. He was good all around.”
From the grass, Ortiz boasts a 60-grade arm, which he showcased mostly from right field, but he did get some time in left and center as well. The Phillies were so pleased with Ortiz’s season that they protected him from the Rule 5 Draft by adding him to their 40-man roster in November.
That first stint only lasted a couple days due to roster limitations, but Vierling was back in September, leaving a strong impression as he hit .324/.364/.479 in 34 big league games. And though the 25-year-old only played 79 Minor League games, he reached career highs of 11 homers and 47 RBIs.
“He's going to get a big opportunity in Spring Training to make the team and contribute with the big league club,” Velandia said. "But yes, we were very happy with the development of Matt. What a gamer.”
Left-handed starting pitcher --
“Fastball moves with some sink and cutter action. There's some deception to him,” Velandia said. “He can utilize any pitch at any time for strikes and he just needs to continue to master his craft.”
Hendrickson went 4-5 with a 3.57 ERA, 93 strikeouts and 32 walks in 96 2/3 innings across 21 games (14 starts) as he advanced to Triple-A three days before turning 24.
13.2 innings, just three runs and 20 strikeouts. Josh Hendrickson is our @NJRHomeServices BlueClaws Pitcher of the Month for May! pic.twitter.com/LK4lsRZA0s— Jersey Shore BlueClaws (@BlueClaws) June 1, 2021
Right-handed starting pitcher --
While the 6-foot-4 hurler ran into trouble in July, he finished strong, yielding just five total runs across August and July. In total, Leverett went 4-5 with a 3.48 ERA, 90 strikeouts and 31 walks in 85 1/3 innings over 21 games (17 starts).
Honorable mention: Fifth-ranked Phillies prospect Francisco Morales led the system with 117 strikeouts in 91 2/3 innings across Double-A and Triple-A.
Relief pitcher -- Carlo Reyes, Clearwater (eight games), Jersey Shore (19 games), Reading (eight games): Reyes started his first full season with 10 1/3 scoreless innings in May as he earned a promotion to High-A. The 23-year-old right-hander got bumped up to Double-A in July, and he didn’t allow an earned run in seven of his eight appearances.
Reyes finished the year back with the BlueClaws, getting stretched out over the course of three starts. Overall, the 6-foot hurler notched a 2.40 ERA with 82 strikeouts and 23 walks in 60 innings spanning 35 appearances.
Kelsie Heneghan is a writer for MiLB.com. Follow her on Twitter @Kelsie_Heneghan.