TRENTON — Give Alec Bohm good grades for honesty. The Phillies’ first-round pick out of Wichita State last year is already with his third minor-league team, and speculation persists that he could end up in Philadelphia before the season ends, or more likely, sometime early next year.
Now at double-A Reading, Bohm says he hears the talk about a quick rise to the big leagues, but he does his best to not think about it.
“It is kind of always hard to block that out nowadays,” he said before Reading’s game Monday against the Thunder, the New York Yankees’ affiliate. “You know, you have social media; it is kind of posted everywhere.”
There is a lot to tune out. Bohm’s top position is third base, a crying need for the Phillies. He also has played first base. On Monday, just his fourth game with Reading, he served as the designated hitter.
“For me, just kind of coming out here every day, playing every day, being with the guys every day, it helps me kind of tune all that out and focus on right here,” Bohm said.
The 6-foot-5, 225-pound Bohm, who will turn 23 on Aug. 3, batted .339 with 16 home runs, 55 RBIs, a .436 on base percentage, and .615 slugging percentage last year as a junior at Wichita State. The Phillies then selected him with the No. 3 overall pick.
After seven games with the Rookie Gulf Coast League Phillies West, he moved to short-season Williamsport, where he struggled. He hit .205 with no home runs and 12 RBIs in 124 at bats.
“I went out there and, honestly, started out a little rough," Bohm said "and I was starting to figure it out and went on the injured list for a little over a month, and that kind of slowed things down.”
Bohm was hit by a pitch in the left shin and was on the injured list with a contusion from July 12 until Aug. 19. Bohm did hit .289 over his final 10 games and took that momentum into this season.
The first stop was low-Class A Lakewood, where he had a .367/.441/.595 slash line with three home runs in 93 plate appearances. He then went .329/.395/.506 at high-A Clearwater, with four home runs in 177 plate appearances.
That led to his promotion to Reading. Has the rapid rise surprised him?
“I really have not thought as to how fast or slow or anything like that,” Bohm said. “I went to Lakewood to start the year, started out good there, went to high-A, had the same approach, one day at a time, and here I am.”
In his brief time in double A, Bohm already has noticed a difference in competition, especially the pitching.
“Guys are older, smarter, more physical, bigger. Things like that kind of stick out, but other than that, it is the same game,” said Bohm, who was off to a 3-for-16 start at the plate for Reading, with one home run.
Monday, he struck out twice against a top Yankees prospect, 20-year-old right-hander Deivi Garcia, as three Thunder pitchers combined on a no-hitter in a 7-0 win.
“That’s about as good as it gets in our league,” Reading manager Shawn Williams said of Garcia.
Bohm’s defense at third base has been questioned, but not by Williams, who has seen improvement since spring training.
“He has done a ton of work this year between Lakewood and Clearwater, defensively at third base,” Williams said. “He’s already made some really good plays at third, and he really moves well out there.”