PHILADELPHIA -- The Phillies have been looking for a long-term solution at third base since they traded Scott Rolen to St. Louis in July 2002. They think Wichita State third baseman Alec Bohm could be that guy.• Draft Tracker: Follow every Phillies pickThe Phillies selected Bohm on Monday night with
PHILADELPHIA -- The Phillies have been looking for a long-term solution at third base since they traded Scott Rolen to St. Louis in July 2002. They think Wichita State third baseman Alec Bohm could be that guy.
• Draft Tracker: Follow every Phillies pick
The Phillies selected Bohm on Monday night with the third overall pick in the 2018 Draft. Bohm, 21, hit .339 with 14 doubles, one triple, 16 home runs, 55 RBIs, 39 walks, 28 strikeouts, a .436 on-base percentage and a .625 slugging percentage as a junior. The 6-foot-5, 220-pounder from Omaha, Neb., hit .358 with 12 doubles, five home runs and 28 RBIs last summer in the Cape Cod League.
:: 2018 Draft coverage ::
"He can really hit," Phillies amateur scouting director Johnny Almaraz said Monday night at Citizens Bank Park. "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. He commands the zone unbelievably well. I just recent saw him in Clearwater against [South Florida's Shane] McClanahan, who has a tremendous fastball, and his at-bats were really easy. He gets the barrel to the ball and drives it. He's a good hitter."
Bohm said he is ready to get started. He said he hopes to sign soon.
"I just want to get started playing," he said in a conference call with reporters.
The Phillies said Bohm's college experience and ability to hit could help him move quickly through the Minor League system. The fact he controls the strike zone well serves him well. It is a point of emphasis in the organization.
"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."
The Draft continues on Tuesday with rounds 3-10. The MLB.com preview show begins at 12:30 p.m. ET, with exclusive coverage beginning at 1 p.m. ET.
The Phillies have not had a franchise third baseman since Rolen left town. David Bell (467 games), Maikel Franco (429), Placido Polanco (416), Pedro Feliz (284) and Cody Asche (207) have played the most third base for the Phillies since then. Franco, 25, is trying to prove he can be the guy, but he is hitting .253 with eight home runs, 32 RBIs and a .719 OPS this season. The Phillies could address third base either before the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline or in the offseason. Then down the road, Bohm could step into the role, if he performs as expected.
If there is a knock against Bohm, it is that some scouts question his ability to stick at third base. Many see him as a future first baseman, maybe even a corner outfielder.
"We loved the bat, we loved the offensive capabilities, so we would have taken him regardless whether he felt he could stay there," Almaraz said. "But we don't believe that. We believe he can stay there."
Bohm thinks he can stay there, too.
"Just my work ethic, really," he said. "I'll do whatever it takes to stick there."
Bohm said he had little inclination the Phillies planned to select him, although the club had plenty of people watching him for a long time. Almaraz estimated 15 to 20 people from the Phillies watched Bohm at some point.
"I believe in utilizing all the talent we have in the organization as far as evaluators are concerned," Almaraz said. "We want different opinions, whether it's our infield coordinator or a special assistant, Jorge Velandia, Mike Koplove, Pat Gillick, Terry Ryan. There's a lot experience, and I want people's input."
Bohm said he knows a little about the Phillies and the city.
"Well, I know they make a good cheesesteak," he said. "I've actually kind of taken a liking to [the Phillies] in the past couple of months. 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."
Todd Zolecki has covered the Phillies since 2003, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow him on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.