Hot-hitting Bohm aims to hone defense in AFL

October 7th, 2019

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The Phillies selected Alec Bohm with the No. 3 overall pick in 2018 because they viewed him as the best pure hitter in the MLB Draft. He has done nothing to dispel that notion in his first full year as a pro.

After batting .305/.378/.518 with 21 homers in 125 games across three levels during the regular season, Bohm joined the Scottsdale Scorpions in the Arizona Fall League. He collected four hits in his first AFL contest and has hit safely in nine of his 10 starts. He added two singles and a double on Sunday in a 6-5 win over the Glendale Desert Dogs, boosting his Fall League line to .390/.409/.463.

Bohm had a tough pro debut in 2018, going 40 games without a homer while batting .252/.335/.324. He said he trusted in his ability and didn't make any major changes for 2019.

"I'm pretty happy with the way I adjusted and settled in," said Bohm, MLB Pipeline's top-rated third-base prospect and No. 34 on the Top 100 Prospects list. "I think that whole first season was just a tough stretch. I went through the offseason and regrouped and had a lot more success this year."

Bohm, 23, has a sound right-handed stroke and doesn't try to do too much at the plate. He manages the strike zone very well and lets his power come naturally rather than trying to sell out for home runs. He's clearly Philadelphia's third baseman of the future, and that future could come at some point in 2020.

To get to the big leagues, Bohm will need to continue refining his defense at the hot corner. He has enough arm strength for the position, but his range is fringy and he lacks consistency. He made a wide throw on a seventh-inning grounder Sunday, his third error in six AFL games in the field after making 12 miscues in 83 regular-season contests.

"Other than today, I feel really happy with it," Bohm said of his defensive progress. "Just continuing to get comfortable, continuing to just make the routine play and just be all-around solid over there."

Right-hander Connor Johnstone (Braves) turned in his best start of the season for the Scorpions. He scattered four hits and two walks over five scoreless innings, sitting at 91-93 mph with his fastball and recording one strikeout. Scottsdale DH Jalen Miller (Giants) provided the game's lone home run, a 376-foot drive with an exit velocity of 103 mph off a slider from Gerardo Carrillo (Dodgers) in the top of the fourth.

Glendale catcher Tyler Stephenson (Reds) had two doubles and a single, tying for the Fall League lead in doubles (six) and moving into second place in the batting race (.414).

Michael Busch, the 31st overall pick in the 2019 Draft, joined the Desert Dogs on Sunday and went 0-for-2 with a pair of walks while playing first base in his AFL debut. Busch replaced fellow Dodger Justin Yurchak on the roster and became the second 2019 Draftee to appear in the league, following Peoria catcher Logan Driscoll, a Padres second-rounder.

The Scorpions (8-7) kept pace with the first-place Salt River Rafters in the East Division and remain two games back. The Desert Dogs (5-10) have the worst record in the fall league and are four games behind the first-place Surprise Saguaros in the West.