I never have the best luck when watching Alec Bohm.
Like most of you, I have been reading up on the in-person reports of Bohm the third baseman from Wichita State University, that is catching a lot of helium. Preseason Top 25 on most draft lists, Bohm had a successful year for the Shockers hitting .305/.385/.519 with 13 doubles, two triples, and 11 home runs. His walk rate was 10.9%, and the strikeout rate was just a touch more at 11.7%. With a BABIP of .313, there wasn’t anything that dissuades me when checking out his Sophomore numbers.
This past summer, Bohm performed well in the Cape Cod league. Playing for the Falmouth Commodores, Bohm hit .351/.399/.513 in 39 games with the wood bat league smacking five home runs and ten doubles driving in 28 runs. Summer leagues from Sophomore to Junior college season is a critical one for players, and Bohm emerged on to the scene.
Bohm started the 2018 season with a 10-game hitting streak with half of those being multi-hit games and had four straight games with a home run. The first time Bohm caught my attention was his series against Nebraska where he went 3-for-11 in the three games. What was eye-catching is each hit was a home run, he drove in nine runs, scored seven times, and walked three times with one strikeout. Pretty productive weekend.
I watched Bohm when Wichita State played at Missouri on March 13th. He did have a double but was 1-for-4 for the night not making the best contact, especially to right field. I saw his slightly open stance as a way for Bohm to punish inside pitches but caused him to lunge at pitches on the outer third. Limiting his ability to dive them to the opposite field. An intriguing hitter, but again, not worth taking in the Top 5.
Looking back at it, I didn’t realize I watched Bohm during his cold streak. After that Nebraska series, from March 6th to March 27th, Bohm was 13-for-50 with three doubles, no home runs, eight walks to five strikeouts. For three weeks Bohm didn’t show the promised power we saw from the beginning of the year but was still being a productive player for the Shockers. Again, good enough to be a first-round pick, but not worthy of being selected in the Top 5.
That was until his series at East Carolina, who ranks #11 in Baseball America’s Top 25. Against better competition, Bohm’s bat woke up in a big way on that Friday night going 4-for-5 with two home runs and six RBI. In front of many scouts and writers. Suddenly, Bohm was not just a first-round talent, but someone who has emerged to be a quality, impact college bat that this draft class is lacking. He became worthy of being a Top 5 pick.
I watched Bohm play against Kansas on Wednesday, and sure enough, I didn’t witness any magic. Bohm was 2-for-4 with two strikeouts and a walk. One of those hits, which you can see in the video below, was in great thanks to the turf Wichita State plays on that can act as a trampoline on grounders.
Not much power, not the best of contact, and missing on very hittable pitches. Again, I missed out on the Bohm magic. Two things did catch my eye. One, Bohm moves better than I thought defensively especially to his left. He makes strong throws to first and cleanly fielded each ground ball making an excellent transition to start a double play. The second thing that caught my eye was how Kansas implemented the shift against Bohm. They moved the infield to have him play pull with the second baseman directly behind second base. That suggests there is enough of a scouting report in the college ranks that Bohm has heavy pull tendencies, and like I mentioned previously, doesn’t drive the well to opposite field.
Still, even without the magic, Bohm is a productive player. His walk rate has increased to 17% this season while cutting down on the strikeouts to a rate of 8.4%. From the highlight videos, you can see when Bohm barrels up on a ball that he does of plus-power. Bohm is a player that checks off a lot of items on a scouts report card, especially for a team like the White Sox. Who in the past two years since Nick Hostetler has taken over has coveted college bats with a power profile that can demonstrate patience at the plate with a low strikeout rate. Personally, even if Jake Burger was healthy, I like Bohm’s chances of staying at third better than Burger’s.
Wichita State will be playing against Kansas again on April 24th, and I’ll be watching the ESPN3 stream. Maybe this time I’ll get to witness the magic of Alec Bohm and be completely sold on him for the White Sox.
Other MLB draft notes from the weekend:
SoCal prep SS Brice Turang, #17 on our most recent draft rankings, had a day today: two bombs and a double, all below (6 for 8 in two games this week) https://t.co/rAL1B2zAEf pic.twitter.com/cg3r3CpJRc
— Kiley McDaniel (@kileymcd) April 21, 2018
Brady Singer had a very good outing against #9 Kentucky pitching seven innings only allowing two earned runs while striking out 10 and walking one.
— Burke Granger (@burkegranger) April 19, 2018
Auburn beat down Alabama, 19-5 this past Friday but looking at Casey Mize’s box score it wasn’t his best performance. That’s because he was hit by a line drive.
Mize was hit by a liner by the first hitter in the 3rd inning, appeared to hit him on the right wrist. Didn’t leave the game but velo settled a bit lower at 91-93 and wasn’t as crisp, giving up 3 runs in the 4th on 3 hits and 2 walks.
— Kiley McDaniel (@kileymcd) April 21, 2018