Wichita State

Phillies top pick Alec Bohm signs contract, heads off to start pro career

Phillies top pick Alec Bohm signs contract, heads off to start pro career

Alec Bohm got his first in-person look at Citizens Bank Park on Tuesday.

“Definitely a hitter-friendly park,” he said. “I like it.”

A week after the Phillies selected him third overall in the draft, Bohm is signed and ready to begin his pro career. The 6-5 third baseman from Wichita State University took a round of batting practice with the Phillies before Tuesday night’s game and will head off to Clearwater in the morning.

The Phillies will try to introduce Bohm (rhymes with home) to the pro game the same way they did with outfielder Adam Haseley, last year’s first-round pick. Haseley also came out of the college ranks, the University of Virginia.

“Probably something similar,” scouting director Johnny Almaraz said. “Spend a little time in the Gulf Coast League, get some at-bats, then go over to Williamsport and get multiple at-bats there and hopefully finish up in Lakewood. Ultimately, (director of player development) Joe Jordan will have that plan once he gets to Clearwater.”

Bohm, 21, established himself as a potential first-rounder by hitting .351 (second best in the league) with five homers and 20 RBIs in the Cape Cod League last summer. He built on that and hit .339 with a .436 on-base percentage and 16 homers as a junior at Wichita State this season. Phillies officials want to build around hitters with power and plate discipline and Bohm has those qualities (see story). He had 39 walks and struck out just 28 times this season.

“Striking out, I kind of see it as a waste,” he said. “I hate striking out.”

Bohm hails from Nebraska, the same state that produced beloved Phillies Hall of Famer Richie Ashburn.

“I’ve heard of him, but don’t know much about him,” Bohm said.

Bohm will have plenty of time to read about His Whiteness on those long minor-league bus rides.

The Phillies signed Bohm for $5.85 million, under the slot value of $6.9 million assigned to the No. 3 pick. The Phillies used the extra signing bonus allotment to help sign high school shortstop Logan Simmons (sixth round) and high school catcher Logan O’Hoppe (23rd round) to over-slot deals. The Phils are close to signing high school pitcher Dominic Pipkin (ninth round).

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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."

Phillies select college 3B with 3rd overall pick

Phillies select college 3B with 3rd overall pick

The Phillies selected 21-year-old power hitter Alec Bohm with the third overall pick in the Major League Baseball draft on Monday night.

Bohm is a third baseman out of Wichita State. He stands 6-5 and weighs 225 pounds. He hits right-handed. He hit .339 with 16 homers and 55 RBIs for the Shockers this season.

Bohm has good contact skills and has shown good strike zone control. That is a quality the Phillies like (see story).

The Phillies have now selected a college player with their first pick two years in a row. Last year, they selected University of Virginia outfielder Adam Haseley with the eighth overall pick.

The draft continues on Tuesday and Wednesday. The Phillies do not have a second- or third-round pick. They forfeited those picks for signing free agents Carlos Santana and Jake Arrieta.

Bohm hit .339 with a .436 on-base percentage, 16 home runs and 55 RBIs in 57 games as a junior. 

"Alec Bohm is a tremendous offensive player," scouting director Johnny Almaraz said in a statement. "He is a middle of the order bat, a big power-hitting third baseman who could be a .300 hitter and drive in 100-plus runs. We are thrilled to have selected him."

Bohm is the first third baseman drafted by the Phillies in the first round since 1998 when they selected then-third baseman Pat Burrell out of the University of Miami.

The draft opened with the Detroit Tigers selecting Casey Mize, a right-handed pitcher from Auburn University, first overall.

The San Francisco Giants selected Georgia Tech catcher Joey Bart with the second pick.