Phillies

Phillies

You don't have to dig too deeply into Alec Bohm's stat line to see some of the reasons the Phillies like him.

There's the batting average — .303 as a freshman, .305 as a sophomore and .339 as a junior at Wichita State University.

There's the on-base percentage — .346 as a freshman, .385 as a sophomore and .436 as a junior.

There's the power — six homers as a freshman, 11 as a sophomore and 16 as a junior.

And there's the walks-to-strikeouts totals — 9-25 as a freshman, 29-31 as a sophomore and 39-28 as a senior.

The numbers suggest that Bohm can hit, get on base, hit for power and do so while taking walks and limiting strikeouts.

Equally important, Bohm has shown the ability to improve in all of these areas. The 21-year-old third baseman is an ascending talent and that's why the Phillies selected him third overall in Major League Baseball's draft Monday night.

"We were very, very lucky to get the guy that we were focusing on throughout a good part of the season," scouting director Johnny Almaraz said. "Alec Bohm is a middle-of-the-order bat.

"He's a very athletic player. He's a good third baseman. With some instruction, I believe that he's got the chance to be an average to an above-average third baseman at the major-league level.

"He can really hit and he commands the strike zone unbelievably well. He's got a lot of leverage in that swing. He can drive the ball out to all parts of the field. He's got what I call wide-field power meaning that he can hit home runs from gap to gap. We love the offensive capabilities."

 

Bohm stands 6-5 and weighs 220 pounds. He hits right-handed. A scout from a rival organization who has seen Bohm described him as a "lesser Pat Burrell. He stays inside the ball well. He's a hitter first and the power will develop. Solid pick." Burrell was the No. 1 overall pick by the Phillies in 1998.

Bohm was reserved in speaking with reporters via a conference call about 40 minutes after he was selected. His voice did seem to rise when he was asked about the 2018 Phillies, a young club on the rise.

"I've actually kind of taken a liking to them in the past couple of months," Bohm said. "They have a young club and they're doing better than they were expected to. I like them so far. They've kind of become one of my favorites."

The bonus assigned to the No. 3 pick is $6.9 million. Almaraz said he hopes to have Bohm signed soon. He added that he believes Bohm has the ability to move quickly through the system and could play a corner outfield spot or first base if needed. The plan, though, is to keep him at third.

Bohm was not drafted out of high school. He was lightly recruited. He weighed 240 pounds as a freshman but has worked hard to transform his body.

"He's a blue-collar player," Almaraz said.

Bohm's breakthrough as a prospect came last summer in the Cape Cod League, a wood-bat league. He finished second in the league in hitting (.351) and had five homers and 20 RBIs.

"The Cape is where I kind of separated myself," he said. "I got a lot of at-bats. That kind of led to plate discipline, being more selective. That led me to get into the power more."

As the walks have gone up, the strikeouts have come down.

"I just don't like to strike out, period," Bohm said. "When I get to two strikes, I'm just putting the ball in play. I'm just up there trying to put the bat on the ball, not really trying to do damage with two strikes."

Bohm is the second college player chosen in the first round by the Phillies in as many years. Last year, the Phils selected University of Virginia outfielder Adam Haseley eighth overall.

The draft continues on Tuesday but the Phillies won't pick again until the fourth round. They forfeited their second- and third-round picks for signing free agents Carlos Santana and Jake Arrieta.

The Phillies will look to score some pitching in the rest of the draft.

"There's a lot of pitching out there," Almaraz said. "This year's draft is really deep in college pitching, very deep, and we're going to get our share of arms that one day are going to be pitching up here, both starters and relievers."