Phillies desperately needed third base depth in organization

PHILADELPHIA, PA - JUNE 16: Maikel Franco
PHILADELPHIA, PA - JUNE 16: Maikel Franco /

By drafting Alec Bohm the Phillies may have solidified the hot corner for years to come

Projecting the careers of 18-year-old baseball players is one of the toughest jobs for a scout, but the Phillies think they’ve found the guy to break an organizational curse.

Not since the days of Scott Rolen have the Phillies had a star at third base. and it’s been felt through years of Pedro Feliz, Placido Polanco, Cody Asche, and Maikel Franco. There’s never been anything other than average at the hot corner since the borderline Hall of Famer Rolen was traded in 2002.

Franco was always thought to be the long-term fix at third base since debuting in 2014 as a September call-up. Flashes of Franco’s potential have shown in his bat, but nothing more than an average player with power has developed.

Philadelphia Phillies
Philadelphia Phillies /

Philadelphia Phillies

Behind Franco the organization has no members of its top-30 prospect pool projected to play third base. Cole Stobbe, a 2016 third-round pick, was thought to be the next “guy,” but a down season for Williamsport hitting .203 diminished his stock. Stobbe is just 20-years-old and he’s hitting .269 in seven games for Lakewood, but projected to return to the Crosscutters.

Lakewood is starting Jake Scheiner and Dalton Guthrie, both in their first full year of professional ball but each hitting below .260 in their minor league careers. Luke Williams, a 2015 third round pick, is hitting .170 for Lakewood through 37 games with three extra-base hits.

Reading just saw their everyday third baseman Damek Tomscha promoted to Lehigh Valley to replace Mitch Walding, who went to Philadelphia to replace the injured Pedro Florimon. Tomscha is 26-years-old and hitting .295 this season and .283 in 438 minor leagues games over five years.

Before Tomscha arrived, Lehigh Valley had Walding, a career minor league player, and signed free agent Trevor Plouffe to add depth.

It’s rare a baseball team can draft on both need and best player available, but it appears that’s what they have with Bohm. Unlike the NFL Draft, which receives a million times more attention than the MLB Draft, teams will have to wait at least a year, and maybe up to five, to see their first round picks in a major league uniform, if ever.

Since 2013 Dansby Swanson is the only one number one pick has played in the big leagues. From 2000-12 only eight number one picks have become every day/starting rotation-caliber players.

Next: Phillies: Top five MLB Draft classes since 1998

Hopefully, an advanced college bat like Bohm can rise through a weak minor league system and provide the power scouts rave about.