What to expect from Alec Bohm in the bigs

August 13th, 2020

Though a 5-8 start to the 2020 season has quickly dropped the Phillies into the cellar in the National League East, the club is hopeful that the addition of top prospect Alec Bohm to its lineup will help get it back on track.

On Thursday, the Phillies announced that they were promoting Bohm, the No. 3 overall pick in the 2018 Draft, to the Major Leagues ahead of the team’s home afternoon matchup against Baltimore. He’ll get the start at third base and bat sixth in his big league debut.

The Phillies would not be calling up Bohm, MLB Pipeline’s No. 31 overall prospect, if they didn’t plan on giving him regular playing time. He’s manned the hot corner primarily in the Minors but also has seen time at first. Those two positions have been weak spots for the Phillies so far this season, with the club’s third and first baseman batting .190 (.703 OPS) and .205 (.669 OPS), respectively, across the team’s first 13 contests. 

Bohm, who projects to hit for both average and power, could soon have those numbers on the rise, though, and the Phillies could help keep the 24-year-old’s potent bat in the lineup by deploying him at designated hitter.

After an injury-shortened pro debut in 2018, the Wichita State product climbed from Class A Lakewood to Double-A Reading last year in his first full season, earning a promotion to the Eastern League on June 21. He ultimately batted .305/.378/.518 with 21 homers, 30 doubles and 80 RBIs across the three stops, then encored with a strong showing in the Arizona Fall League by posting a .361/.397/.528 line with a pair of homers in 19 games with Scottsdale.

Hit (60): A .293/.368/.474 hitter in 165 Minor League games, Bohm’s advanced approach, bat speed and physical strength give him the potential to be a true impact bat in the middle of a lineup. He can handle pitches in all parts of the strike zone in every count, has a knack for making quick adjustments and consistently barrels up the baseball, driving it with authority to all fields. Bohm’s 10.6 percent walk rate last season speaks to his patience at the plate, and while he does have some swing-and-miss to his game, he doesn’t strike out too much and fanned at a 13.5 percent clip in ’19 -- the lowest strikeout rate among Phillies farmhands who recorded at least 250 plate appearances.

Power (55): Evaluators believe Bohm’s impressive raw power will translate at the Major League level because he knows how to stay within himself and doesn't get pull happy, showing the ability to hit the ball over the fence the other way. That the 6-foot-5, 218-pounder generates easy backspin carry to all fields underscores his bat speed as well as his ability to leverage and get extension with his right-handed swing. 

Run (35): Bohm is a below-average runner on paper but moves well for his size, with speed that translates better on the basepaths when he’s able to reach full stride than it does in the field, where he lacks ideal first-step quickness.

Arm (50): Bohm’s arm strength is more than suitable for the hot corner (and therefore certainly for first base) and often plays above its average grade when his footwork and large frame are both in sync.

Field (45): The Phillies were pleased with Bohm’s progress at third base in terms of his footwork, positioning and angles to the ball during his first full season, and they are quick to note his strong work ethic and dedication to improving at the position. That doesn’t mean he’ll be able to stay there long term, of course, and there are many who think he profiles better as a first baseman due to his size and because he lacks the hands, quickness and range for third. Regardless of where he ultimately lands on the defensive spectrum, Bohm’s bat should enable him to meet the offensive demands at any position.