DUNEDIN, Fla. — The two biggest homers hit Sunday afternoon weren’t the two that MVP Bryce Harper launched out of TD Ballpark. They came from a couple of more intriguing lefty-hitting bombers.

Bryson Stott, the Phillies’ top prospect, cranked his first of the spring in the fifth inning. Mickey Moniak, the first overall pick of the 2016 draft, followed in the sixth with a two-run shot, which was his third homer in as many days.

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Stott is a shortstop, but he made his first start at third base on Sunday. His homer and two walks, one of which drove in a run, raised his spring OPS to 1.255, best on the team. Moniak has made 412 of his 487 professional starts in center field. He’s got four hits in his last 10 at-bats, and he leads the team with an .824 slugging percentage.

The Phillies are set at every position except third base and center field. Alec Bohm was the starter at third the past two seasons, but he got sent to the minors last year and he’s hitting .125 this spring. Righty-lefty tandem Matt Vierling and Adam Haseley looked like a natural platoon combination after Odubel Herrera strained an oblique last week, but Haseley’s hitting .125, too, and Vierling’s a fifth-round pick from 2018 who debuted last season for 34 games.

Could Stott start at third?

“It’s something we’ll look at,” Girardi said Sunday.

What about Moniak in center?

“He’s making it really interesting, let me tell you,” Girardi admitted.

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The franchise that has suffered through blue-chip disappointments like Scott Kingery, Greg Golson, and Domonic Brown is witnessing the springtime bloom of two first-round studs. The Phillies spent $179 million last week and exceeded the luxury tax for the first time to sign Kyle Schwarber and Nick Castellanos, mainly because their farm system keeps producing players like Anthony Hewitt.

A week ago, neither Stott nor Moniak figured into the immediate plans of a team determined to make its first playoff appearance in a decade. By the end of the weekend, both looked like they could be the face of the franchise for the next decade to come.

Pinch yourself

Multiple outlets have rated the Phillies’ farm system among the three worst in baseball for the past two seasons. Stott, 24, and Moniak, who turns 24 in May, might be the pair who change that reputation. Stott’s 6-foot-3 and 200 pounds, Moniak’s an inch shorter and 5 pounds lighter, and when they left the field Sunday, shoulder to shoulder, their heads, for the moment, were in the clouds.

Were they envisioning their names etched into that Opening Day lineup?

“We try not to,” Moniak said. ”What I’ve done in the past, and what I’ve learned, the one thing you can’t do is play GM.”

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He might have a certain distaste for GMs after 2021. Following a strong spring, the Phillies sent him back to the minors ... then called him up seven times during the season. His yo-yo year resulted in an .091 average in the majors, .238 in the minors, and a sixth straight year of inconsistent results seasoned, as usual, with lots of strikeouts.

“My focus this spring, instead of going out and trying to win a job, is to go out and be ready for opening day, wherever that may be,” Moniak said.

Stott seems to carry the same attitude. He played his first five games at shortstop but spent an hour Saturday and Sunday mornings working at third base with infield coach Bobby Dickerson and front-office advisor Larry Bowa.

“I just want to play,” Stott said Sunday morning.

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He fielded no third-base chances Sunday against the Blue Jays -- his one assist came when he’d shifted to the shortstop position -- but he logged four more solid plate appearances and impressed the bosses. He now has five walks.

“He’s got a great eye. He does not chase,” Girardi said.

Moniak has chased plenty, but then, the weight of being a Number One overall pick can make your bat cumbersome.

“It’s hard being one and one,” Girardi said. “It’s a heavy label.”

Especially in Philadelphia.


The center-field position was Moniak’s to win last year, too, but, once again, he dwelt more on his profile than his swing path.

“I think for a little bit last year, maybe a little bit sprinkled here and there in the minor leagues,” he said. “I put too much pressure on myself.”

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Last season’s wringer straightened him out.

“I went through it all. That prepared me for this year, and the rest of my career,” he said. “I know it’s strange to say at 23, but there’s nothing this game can throw at me that I can’t handle.”

Stott’s that same dude. A Las Vegas native like Harper and a longtime friend, he rooms with Harper and his family at spring training.

“I don’t think he really cares. He’s not that type of person. I don’t think anything really gets to him,” Harper said. “He’s definitely forcing their hand right now.”

So is Moniak. They’re loving it.

“We’re good friends. Being the same age, we can kind of bond together, that way, being high picks,” Moniak said. “We know there’s still lot of growing to be done for me and him, but we’re right where we need to be. Hopefully, we’ll win in this city for a long time.”

That would be a pleasant change.