Stephen Scott was recently identified by Baseball America’s Matt Eddy as an “unheralded young minor-league hitter” within the Red Sox organization who “succeeded in 2021 and is looking to build on that success this season.”
Scott — an outfielder, first baseman, and catcher — was originally selected by the Sox in the 10th round of the 2019 amateur draft out of the baseball powerhouse that is Vanderbilt University. As a senior coming out of college, the North Carolina native signed with Boston for a modest $50,000.
After spending the remainder of the 2019 season with the Lowell Spinners, Scott had his first full season as a pro taken away from him due to the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. He did, however, participate in fall instructs and subsequently opened the 2021 campaign with Low-A Salem.
While living in a trailer with teammate Joe Davis, Scott batted .259/.381/.453 with 17 doubles, eight home runs, 42 RBIs, 49 runs scored, two stolen bases, 39 walks, and 46 strikeouts across his first 61 games (257 plate appearances) for the Salem Sox.
On July 29, the Red Sox promoted Scott to High-A Greenville, where the left-handed hitter turned it up a notch offensively. In his final 39 games (165 plate appearances) with the Drive, Scott slashed an astounding .338/.430/.606 to go along with 12 doubles, one triple, eight homers, 29 RBIs, 24 runs scored, one stolen base, 23 walks, and 32 strikeouts.
Among all High-A East hitters who made at least 160 trips to the plate last year, Scott ranked 12th in walk rate (13.9%), 23rd in strikeout rate (19.4%), second in batting average, first in on-base percentage, fourth in slugging percentage, second in OPS (1.036), 13th in isolated power (.268), and second in wRC+ (173), per FanGraphs.
Defensively, Scott is more versatile than his 5-foot-11, 207 pound frame might suggest. Last season alone, the 24-year-old logged 321 1/3 innings at first base, 78 in left field, 156 1/3 in right field, and 163 2/3 behind home plate while making his professional debut as a catcher.
As noted by Eddy, Scott’s “best path forward involves a large share of time behind the plate, where he made just 18 starts last year.” That being said, SoxProspects.com’s Ian Cundall writes that scouts are skeptical Scott can stick behind the plate long-term given his lack of mobility and lack of experience at the position.
Scott, who turns 25 in May, is currently regarded by SoxProspects.com as the No. 51 prospect in Boston’s farm system. After participating in the Sox’ Winter Warm-Up program in January, he is projected by the site to return to Greenville for the start of the 2022 minor-league season, though it should not take him long to get to Double-A Portland if he can replicate what he did at the plate last summer.
(Picture of Stephen Scott via the Greenville Drive’s Twitter)