PHILADELPHIA -- The Phillies are going to need a new third baseman in 2020.
It is expected they will part ways with Maikel Franco, who fell out of favor last summer with the team. Scott Kingery could play there, but he might be needed at second base, if the Phillies decide to cut ties with Cesar Hernandez. There could be external options. They kicked the tires on Josh Donaldson last winter. They passed on Mike Moustakas. They could take a more aggressive approach this time. But the Phillies also have top prospect Alec Bohm making his move to the big leagues. It is not a stretch to think he could be there in 2020.
The MLB Pipeline staff named Bohm and left-hander Damon Jones the Phillies’ Hitting and Pitching Prospects of the Year. To receive consideration, players needed to spend at least half the season in the Minors and appear on the team's Top 30 Prospects list.
Bohm, 23, is the No. 34 prospect in baseball and the No. 1 prospect in the organization, according to MLB Pipeline. He batted .305 with 30 doubles, four triples, 21 home runs, 80 RBIs and an .896 OPS in 125 games with Class A Lakewood, Class A Advanced Clearwater and Double-A Reading.
The Phillies selected Bohm with the third overall pick in the 2018 Draft. It would not be a surprise to see him in big league camp next spring.
“I don’t want to think about that because there’s a lot of things left for me to do still,” Bohm said about playing in the big leagues. “I have to go to Arizona and do good out there [in the Arizona Fall League]. It’s definitely on my mind, but it’s not something that I’m focused on right now. Just trying to take it one day at a time.”
Bohm should hit whenever he joins the Phillies. The big question has been if he can play third base at that level.
“I’ve seen a lot of growth,” Bohm said. “The game has slowed down for me. I don’t want to say it’s getting easier, but the game has slowed down for me. [It’s] the repetitions, the hundreds, the thousands. All the work I did over there, just over time it’s becoming more comfortable.”
Phillies farm director Josh Bonifay said there is no question Bohm can play a quality third base.
“He did have an outstanding year, developmental-wise,” Bonifay said. “He went three levels. He has the ability to continue to improve playing third base -- and he played some first base. He has ability to get the ball in the air, pull side. He drives the baseball. He had a huge year. We'll continue to watch him progress through the Arizona Fall League."
Jones, 24, went a combined 5-4 with a 2.91 ERA in 23 starts with Clearwater, Reading and Triple-A Lehigh Valley. The Phillies' No. 20 prospect had a 1.54 ERA in 11 starts with Clearwater and a 0.82 ERA in four starts in Reading before he posted a 6.62 ERA in eight starts in Lehigh Valley.
“He's unbelievable,” Bonifay said. “His slider and curveball are some of the two best that we have in our system besides [Spencer] Howard's. Jonesy, his ability to go from Clearwater, I mean he dominated Clearwater. And then he went for two starts in Double-A and he showed quality strikes. And then Triple-A, obviously the adjustment there with the ball this year.
"I think you see a lot more older hitters. You see quality hitters at that level. A lot of guys, you see at Syracuse, they've got Rajai Davis and they've got Carlos Gomez and you've got a lot of big league lineups that you're facing. And these guys really have to be on top of their game. It's a great adjustment level. It's a great level to see how you measure up. Jonesy, I think out of the gates -- it was a little tough, but he finished up pretty strong in his last outing.”