Boston's Scott taking advantage of AFL opportunity

October 16th, 2022

PHOENIX -- When a player is taken in the 10th round of the Draft as a money-saving senior sign, there typically aren’t a ton of expectations put on that player. Stephen Scott was one of those players in 2019, joining the Red Sox after his senior year at Vanderbilt as the No. 317 overall pick and signing for a below-slot $50,000.

So the fact that Scott was asked to play in the Arizona Fall League this year means he’s surpassed whatever low bar may have been set by others. He’s making the most of the opportunity, especially Saturday’s chance to play at Chase Field.

“Awesome experience,” Scott said after his Scottsdale Scorpions beat the Peoria Javelinas, 10-6. “The field is pristine. You get a sense of what the game can be like. It’s exciting to see and I hope to be playing on these fields all the time one day.”

The way Scott has played this fall points to him perhaps being able to do that. After going 2-for-2 with a walk on Saturday, he’s hitting .417/.440/.750 with a pair of homers and eight RBIs, with four multi-hit games in his six total games played. Yes, it’s a hitting-friendly league, but even with that caveat, it’s a vast improvement from his .219/.346/.377 line he put together between High-A and Double-A during the regular season.

“I’m just trying to stay within myself,” Scott said. “There are a lot of really good pitchers in this league. I’m just trying to go up and compete with them. That’s what it’s really boiled down to: Not trying to do too much, letting them dice me up at times, try to get one or two here or there.”

Scott’s best chance at reaching the big leagues might come courtesy of his defensive home. The 25-year old became a full-time catcher in 2022 after having dabbled a little bit behind the plate as an amateur. He had played outfield almost exclusively for Vanderbilt as a senior and didn’t catch at all in his first summer of pro ball. He mixed in some catching in 2021 before making it his forever home by catching 67 games in 2022.

“I had done a little bit of catching in high school and college and they approached me after the 2019 season and started talking to me about making that transition,” said Scott, who in addition to his two hits threw out a potential basestealer on Saturday. “After last year, we sat down and had some conversations about a full-time switch. It’s taken off from there.

“It’s been a big transition and the Red Sox have worked a lot with me. Between Luke Montz, Mickey Jiang, Chad Epperson, those are the catching guys who have really helped me a lot in my career and helped me make that transition. I love it and I love being back there.”

Being able to get more reps this fall has certainly aided his defensive development. He caught 34 games with Double-A Portland this year and handling the Scorpions staff has given him the opportunity to catch more advanced-level arms.

“It’s helping a lot,” Scott said. “There are a lot of really good pitchers in this league and on this staff. To be able to come in and work with them and see a lot of different shapes, everything from big sinkers to rising fastballs. We even have a submariner in the bullpen. It’s fun, learning new guys and what they got, what makes them tick, that’s all part of being a catcher. I try to embrace that.”