The Phillies need their top prospect in the bigs this year
Major League Baseball owners approved a plan on Monday that would restart the 2020 season with a variety of new rules and guidelines due to COVID-19.
Jeff Passan of ESPN laid out some of the most noteworthy details in the proposal, which would still have to be approved by players.
- An expansion of playoff teams from 10 to 14
- An 82-game season
- The use of home stadiums in areas that have local and state governmental approval
- A so-called spring training 2.0 that begins in June with a season set for early July
- A universal designated hitter
- Geographical schedules, in which teams play only in-division opponents and interleague opponents in a similar area (i.e., American League Central teams play only AL Central and National League Central teams)
- A 30-man roster with a taxi squad that would have upward of 50 players available
All of these rules would impact the Phillies in a major way, but two of them could help their top prospect Alec Bohm get to the big leagues this year.
An expanded roster would allow teams to have some of their most major-league ready prospects available if an injury happens and there is no minor league season to bring players up from. If there is no minor league season, the Phillies would likely (at a minimum) add Bohm to the “taxi squad” of players who could come up if there’s an injury.
But, the Phillies likely don’t want their top prospect sitting and only getting practices in at a nearby minor league complex. They want Bohm to play and they’ve said that Bohm was likely to come up this year anyway.
The Phillies might as well give Bohm a big league job coming out of spring training 2.0.
After that, the biggest question would be where Bohm plays. The universal DH would give the Phillies a ton of options to play with that could get Bohm on the field almost every day.
As we discussed in our Phillies plan for adding a DH in 2020 outlook the Phillies could use third baseman Jean Segura (one of their worst defenders) as their DH this year. Segura has already been kicked off shortstop for his historically poor defense with 54 errors in the last three years. If he can hit .300 like he’s accustomed to the Phillies will take that from an unconventional DH and play Bohm every day at third.
If the Phillies want Segura on the field for a couple of games they can either DH Bohm or have him play first base with Rhys Hoskins as the DH. Hoskins, like Segura, is known more for his bat than his defense and would profile well as a DH.
Either way, there’s room to get Bohm on the field nearly every day.
Service time would be another issue teams and the league might have to look at, but if the season is only going to be 82 games, that’s about what Bohm might have played in the big leagues this year. There’s no worry that his first year of service time would be wasted on a shortened season if he was only expected to play half a season or less in the big leagues.
If these key rules pass through the Player’s Union, I would expect Bohm to be among the players making it out of spring training and playing a role for the Phillies in 2020.