Who Will Be the Phillies Starting Shortstop on Opening Day?

MLB: SEP 27 Phillies at Rays
ST. PETERSBURG, FL – SEPTEMBER 27:Philadelphia Phillies shortstop Didi Gregorius (18) during the MLB game between the Philadelphia Phillies and Tampa Bay Rays on September 27, 2020 at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, FL. (Photo by Mark LoMoglio/Icon Sportswire)

Spring Training is in full swing and the battle for the starting shortstop position is heating up. The Phillies young phenom Bryson Stott and the veteran Didi Gregorius are both giving Phillies skipper Joe Girardi a lot to consider.

With Opening Day less than two weeks away, who will be the Phillies’ starting shortstop come April 8th?

The Case for Gregorius

Experience

There are two major factors that give Didi Gregorius a major advantage to be the starting shortstop for the Phillies on Opening Day. The first of the factors in Didi’s favor is Joe Girardi. It is well known that Gregorius is one of Joe’s guys. Girardi has shown in the past that has favorites and that he will ride for his guys and this could factor in his decision. The Phillies’ manager values experience and Didi sure has his fair share of big-league experience.

Contract with the Phillies

The second factor that gives Gregorius an edge to be the starting shortstop on Opening Day is 14 million dollars. Didi is set to make $14 million dollars in 2022, the final year of his two years, $28 million dollar contract he signed last off-season. The Phillies will have to pay him that money unless they can find a trade partner to take it off their hands.

Since the Phillies have a huge investment in Didi, they are going to want him to play. After a really rough 2021 season, the Phillies’ brass is hoping a return to his 2020 self is in store for the veteran lefty.

Back-to-Back Dingers

Didi Gregorius needed to have a strong Spring Training and he has delivered. Following Sunday’s game, Didi has homered in back-to-back games and is hitting .313 in six games.

A strong approach at the plate and some fun defensive work should give Gregorius a strong case to be named the Opening Day shortstop.

The Case for Stott

Bryson is the Phillies Future

Bryson Stott is the future of the Philadelphia Phillies. While Philly fans like to overreact and appoint every young player as the next future of the franchise, this one might be the most deserving.

Bryson Stott has been everything as advertised and then some. The smooth swinging lefty has stolen the show and everyone is excited to watch the kid play.

So Far, So Good During Spring Training

Bryson Stott has played very well in Spring Training this year. Hitting .417 in six games with a .588 on-base percentage, Stott has been a machine at the plate. However, Bryson hasn’t just excelled in the offense.

Strong glovework has been flashed in the field as well. Smooth defense is essential for the Phillies because the odds are already stacked against them in that category. Plus defense from Stott could be the difference in ballgames and that gives him a slight edge over Didi and every other option the Phillies currently have.

Bryson Stott will be the Phillies shortstop sooner rather than later. The kid can flat-out play and the Phils are going to need him if they are to make a run in 2022. His youth and the fact he hasn’t yet been placed on the 40-man roster give the Phillies options.

Why Not Both?

Potentially moving Didi or Bryson to third base and sending Alec Bohm back to AAA remains a strong possibility as well. At some point in 2022, Bryson will replace Didi as the everyday shortstop. Whether the changing of the guard takes place on Opening Day or during the dog days of summer, the Phillies will benefit from the strong depth in their infield.

Photo by Mark LoMoglio/Icon Sportswire

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