Even though they have nothing to do with each other positionally, Spencer Howard and Alec Bohm, the Philadelphia Phillies consensus top two prospects, are often mentioned in the same breath as each other. So with Howard’s Major League debut in the books Sunday, how far off is Bohm?
Phillies manager Joe Girardi said Monday that there isn’t a timetable for when Bohm, 24, will debut with the Phillies.
“There isn’t [a timetable for when he will debut.] I know he’s playing well down there [in the intrasquad games being played at Lehigh Valley],” Girardi said Monday. “We get daily reports about how they are doing. He’s swinging the bat well, he’s doing everything he needs to do, but there is no timeline. Matt [Klentak] and I haven’t said this will be the day or anything like that, but the good thing is he’s playing well and continuing to develop and that’s encouraging.”
Is Bohm definitely in the Phillies plans for 2020?
“When we were in a normal spring training back in March, we believed he would play some type of role during the course of the season, and I still think we believe that as well,” Girardi said.
Bohm is a natural third baseman, and while there are some questions about his ability to stick at that position at the major league level long-term, one would think the Phillies are inclined to give him the chance to sink or swim there before moving him elsewhere.
Currently, Jean Segura is manning third base. Segura has adjusted well to a position he’s never played before defensively, but the two-time All-Star is hitting just .172 entering Monday night’s game against the Braves. Still, Segura is owed $28.5 million over the next two seasons, so the Phillies are motivated to give him as much room as possible to break out of an early-season slump.
The possibility does exist that Segura won’t be long for third base. Maybe Didi Gregorius won’t be re-signed this offseason and Segura will play at shortstop next year. Perhaps Scott Kingery won’t ever really get going in 2020 and the Phillies will decide he’s more valuable being used in the super-utility role than as an everyday second baseman. Segura’s best overall season came playing for the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2016, when he was the team’s starting second baseman.
Bohm did see some time at first base in summer camp, which has led some to believe that Rhys Hoskins may be running out of time at first base, given that he’s had a slow start after a disappointing second half to the 2019 season. The Phillies, though, continue to tout Hoskins’ ability to get on base even when he’s struggling to drive the ball, and do view him as someone that’s a leader in the clubhouse and willing to kind of be the public face of the team when there are fan or media events.
In 2020, the DH is also an option. To this point, the duo of Jay Bruce and Phil Gosselin have been impressive at that spot. Both, though, can become free agents after the 2020 season, so they are hardly etched into the Phillies future plans.
There is a reality that when Bohm comes up, the former No. 3 overall pick may be asked to do a little bit of everything. Some nights he may start at third base. Other nights he may get the nod at first base. He certainly stands to benefit from the DH being in the National League as well. And if his bat clicks the way most think it will, he’ll quickly become someone that has to be in the lineup every night, regardless of what number is in front of his name on the lineup card.
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