Phillies’ future third baseman shows off his power in first minor league spring game

The Phillies' No. 3 prospect Aidan Miller mashed a home run in his first MiLB spring training game.

Philadelphia Phillies No. 3 prospect Aidan Miller
Philadelphia Phillies No. 3 prospect Aidan Miller / Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

One of the highlights of spring training for fans of baseball is getting a chance to see some of the top prospects in the game take the field for a few innings and gain some experience competing against major league talent. Phillies fans were lucky to catch a couple of glimpses of top pitching prospect Mick Abel during spring training, and his impressive showing on the mound has many wondering if he should start the season in the Phillies rotation.

Opportunities for young players during spring training were few and far between for many of the organization's top prospects. The Phillies used their time in Clearwater to focus on deciding what was best for the major league roster, and most of the headlines in camp were focused on areas such as who would make the team in the outfield and fill the open spots in the bullpen.

Last week, as spring training entered the final stretch and most roster decisions were finalized for the big club, 2023 first-round pick Aidan Miller played in his first minor league spring training game. Miller's power was on full display during an at-bat against the Detroit Tigers, connected on a three-run bomb with a reported exit velocity of 108 mph.

The much-hyped 19-year-old third baseman was drafted out of high school and has had a meteoric rise up prospect rankings since he was taken with the 27th overall pick last July. His immense power and advanced approach were enough for MLB Pipeline to recently rank Miller the No. 3 prospect in the Phillies system.

Miller was also a member of the Phillies' Spring Breakout squad, which featured many of the top prospects in the system as they faced off in a game against the very best of the Tigers organization. Miller, who started the game at third base, swatted an RBI single in the contest. Miller's progression through the minor league system is sure to be a fascinating storyline for fans to follow in 2024.

Miller's hype could make the Phillies reluctant to extend Alec Bohm

While Phillies fans wait to see if Aidan Miller is going to be the team's next young superstar, the team's current third baseman, Alec Bohm, is in the unenviable spot of waiting for the Phillies to begin contract extension talks following his first arbitration-eligible winter. While the Phillies and Bohm ultimately resolved the contract disagreement after Bohm was awarded a $4 million salary, it's been remarkably quiet on talks of locking Bohm up to a long-term contract. Why is that?

Bohm put it all together for the first time during the 2023 season, batting .274 and reaching career highs in home runs (20) and RBI (97). Couple that with his ability to play both corner infield positions and his age (27), most would think that the Phillies should attempt to extend a player just about to enter the prime of his career. However, after close examination, Bohm has two problems that will likely create a roadblock to his long-term future in Philadelphia: Bryce Harper and Aidan Miller.

Harper's emergence as the Phillies' starting first baseman last season created the first roadblock for Bohm. Barring injury, Harper will handle the position every day going forward with no current plans to return to the outfield. Simply put, Harper will likely be playing first base for the Phillies until 2031.

The second and most likely scenario is that the Phillies know that Aidan Miller is the type of prospect who will make quick work of the minor leagues and force his way into the discussion for a roster spot sooner rather than later. The power potential and everyday third base profile that Miller carries will create a logjam in the infield at some point if Bohm is extended and not moved ahead of free agency. That makes it all the more likely that the Phillies will be willing to go year-to-year with Bohm in arbitration while they monitor the development of Miller.

While quite a ways off for the Phillies front office, these decisions are obviously top of mind. If Miller forces the issue with a rapid rise through the minors, Bohm will likely have a decent amount of trade value the team could capitalize on if future needs present themselves during the next two or three seasons. And that's a problem the Phillies would gladly accept if Miller becomes the player many envision him to be.