Bohm gets new deal, peek at his future home
PHILADELPHIA » Much as he has to hone his innate baseball gifts, Alec Bohm needs to develop his interview technique a bit.
The Phillies’ first-round draft selection (No. 3 overall) agreed to terms with the club and was introduced Tuesday in a press conference. Bohm reportedly has agreed to a $5.85 million signing bonus, leaving nearly $1 million of his slotted bonus money to apply to other signees.
It is the 6-foot-5, 225-pound third baseman out of Wichita State that’s expected to be the future Bohm of that group, of course.
After his first personal talk with the draftee, Phillies manager Gabe Kapler called Bohm, “a big, strong guy with presence in the (batter’s) box . ... And when he walks into a room, you know he’s there.”
But Kapler and everyone else who talked to Bohm Tuesday would readily admit that presence doesn’t necessarily come through with volume. At least not yet.
Asked how he felt with the new contract and a first appointment to Clearwater, Bohm said, “Pretty excited . ... Very grateful for the opportunity to be a Phillie. I’m ready to get going.”
This 21-year-old native of Omaha, Neb. comes across as a pitcher of few words, and none of them are loud. For Kapler, however, that’s hardly an issue.
“He’s a quieter guy and he’s going to lead by example,” Kapler said. “Not with a big voice, or as a rah-rah guy, but certainly you can tell he’s going to to go about his business in the right way and he’s got that presence that other players will follow.”
Bohm, a second-team All-American as a junior for the Shockers, hit .339 with 16 home runs and 14 doubles for them, collecting 55 RBIs and 57 runs scored. He also stole nine bases and posted a .436 on-base percentage. He certainly possesses home run power, but the Phillies liked him for his overall offensive game.
“For me, striking out is kind of a waste of an out,” Bohm said. “So I really hate striking out. The approach is real simple, it’s try to put the ball in play. I’m not really too worried about hitting a home run with two strikes. I just want to put it in play.”
Asked what he thought of the friendly confines of Citizens Bank Park on a day when he took his first pre-game batting practice with veteran grown-ups, Bohm said, “I definitely heard it’s a hitter friendly park. We got to go out there the other day and see it and walk around. I like it.”
Can’t put it any better than that. But Bohm has shown to be the type of player with the kind of ethic who should keep getting better in all facets of his game.
“His biggest improvement overall was in his general approach on the field,” Phillies scouting director Johnny Almaraz said. “His work ethic that I saw and paid attention to from the Cape (Cod Summer League) to Wichita State ... he was always doing pre-game work, whether it was his stretching program, his long-toss program, his attention during BP to fielding ground balls.
“His work ethic that he showed me from the Cape until the time we selected him was really, really good. That’s one of the things I look for as far as intangibles are concerned. That
was sold when I met him and scouted him until the very end. I believed he was the player for us.”
*** NOTES » The Phillies have signed 20 of their 38 draftees now, including four of their top eight (Bohm, outfielder Matt Vierling and shortstops Logan Simmons and Seth Lancaster). ... Almaraz said the immediate Class A development plan for Bohm is similar to that of last year’s top-round pick, University of Virginia outfielder Adam Haseley. Bohm will meet the Phillies development staff and get some Gulf Coast League work in before going to Williamsport and finishing out the short season there. “Then hopefully,” Almaraz added, “he finishes up at Lakewood.” ... Bohm on losing 15 to 20 pounds in college: “It just kind of came with growing and maturing and spending three years at Wichita State, where you’re on a daily routine; practice for four hours and lifting and doing all that and eating well. It just kind of disappeared a little bit.”
Phillies amateur scouting director Johnny Almaraz, left, helps welcome Phillies’ top draft pick Alec Bohm to Citizens Bank Park Tuesday.