Alec Bohm Aims To Prove Doubters Wrong
Charlie Manuel, the World Series-winning manager of the 2008 Phillies, now spends much of his time scouting for the draft and working with the organization’s young hitting prospects.
Manuel watched third baseman Alec Bohm, whom the Phillies drafted third overall in June, play six games for Wichita State in the spring. He was impressed with Bohm’s bat, his power and approach. Like many others, Manuel had concerns about Bohm’s defense and wondered if the lanky, 6-foot-5, 220-pound player might eventually have to move to first base.
Six months after first seeing Bohm play college ball, Manuel caught up with him at instructional league and was amazed by the strides he had made defensively.
"He’s moving better laterally and he’s quicker over there,” Manuel said.
Bohm's improvement is real, according to infield coordinator Chris Truby, and the Phillies believe they have a third baseman on the way.
"Alec has an awesome mentality,” Truby said. "He wants to be a third baseman. He’s a hitter, obviously. That’s what he’s known for. But he came in with a little chip on his shoulder to prove to people that he could be a third baseman and he’s putting in the work and time and doing everything in his power to make that happen.
"I don’t know that he’s ever taken defense as seriously as he is now. He has made tremendous strides since Day One to the end of instructional league. We all know and see he’s going to hit. He’s taking this defense thing personally. He wants to be a total player.”
The Phillies love Bohm's on-base skills. He hit .339/.436/.625 with 16 home runs as a college junior, his on-base percentage boosted by 39 walks against just 28 strikeouts in 57 games.
Bohm’s first summer of pro ball did not go well. He hit .252 with zero home runs in 40 games and was hit on the left knee by a pitch in the short-season New York-Penn League. He missed significant time as a result but was healthy for instructional league, where Manuel enjoyed working with him.
"He’s going to hit,” Manuel said. "He’s going to be a line-drive hitter with power. He’s going to be an RBI guy. He’s a tough out. He doesn’t like to strike out and he can really get on the fastball. We’d turn the machine up to 100, 105 (mph) in the cage and he can get to it. I liked him in college and I like him more now.”