Phillies

1st-round pick Alec Bohm the kind of offensive player Phillies want to build around

1st-round pick Alec Bohm the kind of offensive player Phillies want to build around

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."

Forgotten Phillies opening day starters of the last 30 years

Forgotten Phillies opening day starters of the last 30 years

Steve Carlton, Terry Mulholland, Curt Schilling, Roy Halladay. There are certain eras of Phillies baseball over the last 40 years when you knew who was going to have the honor of being named opening day starter before spring training even started. This year, Aaron Nola was poised to take the ball for his third straight opening-day start. 

Since Carlton’s incredible run of starting 14 out of 15 openers, there have been 15 pitchers tabbed to start the season off for the Phillies but not all were household names. Here’s a look back at some of the pitchers you may have forgotten got the nod in Game 1 of 162.

2005-06: Jon Lieber

Lieber had a couple of pretty good seasons with the Cubs early in the 2000s, was an All-Star in ’01 when he won 20 games and started three straight Opening Days for them. But after having Tommy John surgery, he signed with the Yankees, missed all of ’03 and then bounced back with a solid 2004, good enough for the Phillies to sign him.

He won that '05 opener for the Phillies and had a pretty good campaign, winning 17 games and leading the NL in starts. He pitched another two unremarkable years for the Phils, going 12-17 with a 4.87 ERA.

2001/02: Omar Daal/Robert Person

Lumping these two together because it was a transition time for the Phillies. In the midst of their seventh straight sub-.500 finish, the Phillies traded ace Curt Schilling in July of 2000 to Arizona for four players, one of which was Daal. The lefty ended up losing 19 games in 2000, one game short of becoming the first pitcher in 20 years to lose 20. But that was good enough to earn (?) him the opening day start in 2001, the first with Larry Bowa as manager. Daal had a better year, going 13-7, but did have a 4.46 ERA.

Person also had a very solid season, going 15-7 with a 4.19 ERA. That got him the start in the 2002 opener, but he never found the same success on the mound as he did in ’01. At the plate, however, he had one of the more memorable days for a Phillies pitcher this century in a June game vs. Montreal. He hit a grand slam and a 3-run homer, going 3 for 4 with seven RBI.

2000: Andy Ashby

Ashby had come up in the Phillies system in the late '80s and actually made his MLB debut for the club in 1991. He was drafted by the Rockies in the expansion draft and ended up in San Diego, where he flourished. He was a two-time all-star, started a couple of openers and helped lead the Padres to the NL title in 1998.

When the Phillies traded three prospects for Ashby before 2000, they thought it gave them a legit 1-2 punch at the top of the rotation to go along with Schilling (who missed the beginning of 2000 due to injury). However, that didn’t work out. After going 4-7 with a 5.68 ERA, Ashby was traded during the All-Star break to the Braves for Bruce Chen.

1996: Sid Fernandez

Did you even remember Sid Fernandez was a Phillie? From 1994 through 1999, Schilling started five of six opening days for the Phils. When he started ’96 on the DL, in stepped Fernandez for the opening day honor. “El Sid” had some really good seasons with the vaunted Mets staff of the '80s, making a couple of All-Star games and helping them win a World Series.

Almost a decade later, he signed with the Phillies for the second half of the ’95 season and did well, posting a 3.34 ERA and going 6-1. He wasn’t as effective in ’96, which basically ended his career (he pitched one game for Houston the next season).

1990: Bruce Ruffin

Remembered more for his Chris Berman-given nickname, Bruce “Two Minutes For” Ruffin’s career started with a bang. He went 9-4 with a 2.46 ERA for the Phillies in 1986. But it kind of went downhill from there. Over the next five years with the club, he never finished above .500 and had only one year with an ERA below 4.00. But he got the opening day start in 1990 because someone had to. Partly because…

1989: Floyd Youmans

Maybe the original “new guy” that got the nod for the Phillies, Floyd Youmans had a promising start to his career in Montreal. He started the opener in ’87 at the age of 23, but injuries and a suspension derailed his time there. Before the 1989 season, the Phillies got him in a trade for Kevin Gross. Youmans started only 10 games for the Phillies in what was his final MLB season.

1987-1988: Shane Rawley

Rawley actually had a few good years with the Phils. He made the All-Star team in 1986 and won 17 games with a 3.54 ERA. In ’85, he won 13 with a 3.31. So when it came time to replace Carlton for Opening Day, the torch was passed to Rawley.

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What an opening weekend this would have been for Phillies

What an opening weekend this would have been for Phillies

"It breaks your heart. It is designed to break your heart. The game begins in spring, when everything else begins again, and it blossoms in the summer, filling the afternoons and evenings, and then as soon as the chill rains come, it stops and leaves you to face the fall alone." — A. Bartlett Giamatti

Of all the quotes about baseball I have read, the beginning of Bart Giamatti's essay "The Green Fields of the Mind" is the one that paints a picture (in oil, of course) of my connection to and love of baseball.

In three sentences we are taken from the renewal of spring to lazy summer afternoons and evenings at the ballpark and finally, to the ache of autumn as the game leaves us for the year.

This year, with fairly little warning, the heartbreak came early. Spring fever actually came with a ... real fever.

We had opening weekend on tap. The Phillies visiting the Miami Marlins. We would take the wraps off a revamped Phillies roster and get a feel for our new set of wheels this season.
What do we have? A team to be truly excited about? Not enough horses? Can Bryce Harper pick up where he left off? Will Jake Arrieta and Rhys Hoskins bounce back?

My watch signals game time.

My phone reminds me, too.

Do the watch and the phone know what they're doing to me?

If you've been a baseball fan since you were a kid, on opening weekend there is a sense of "school's out!" even though you've got two months left. What it is, really, is the promise of summer, laid out in 360 feet of basepath and three acres of the lushest Kentucky Bluegrass you've ever smelled.

As with this opening weekend, the weather is unpredictably tantalizing. Thursday gorgeous, Friday the same, Saturday wet, Sunday back in the drink.

All of that would have been OK. The Marlins play in a dome. The games would be played regardless of weather.

Would have been a good weekend to stay inside.

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