My trip to First Energy Stadium in Reading, PA was to see Alec Bohm’s (#3 pick in 2018 draft) first home game since his promotion to Double A. When I saw they were playing the Portland Sea Dogs, Boston Red Sox’s affiliate, I was excited to see some of their notable prospects, too. The stadium is 90 minutes from Philadelphia and has been in existence since 1951. There is a ton of history to the park and you can see it on the walls in the hallway. There are pictures of noteworthy players from the past from not only the Phillies but also the Indians, who’s minor league team played there until 1961. There was not a bad seat in the house and the weather was sunny and 87 degrees.
During batting practice, the Phillies/Mets game was playing on the outfield screen and when Jean Segura won the game with his walk-off home run, the players stopped and cheered then got right back to hitting. It was cool to see them keeping their eyes on the big-league team that they anticipate being a part of someday soon.
Prior to the game, Bohm spoke to the media after putting on an impressive display during batting practice.
When asked about his success after last year’s struggles Bohm said, “Last year was kind of a rough go of it. I was kind of beat. I was late with my swing. I was tired.” He has definitely put 2018 behind him by hitting .367.441/.695 with 3 home runs in 79 at-bats at Lakewood. He followed that up by hitting .329/.395/.506 with 4 home runs in 158 at-bats in Clearwater before his promotion.
Bohm talked a little bit about his time in High A Clearwater. “It was nice. I spent a lot of time in High A with those guys so it was nice.” After a few weeks there, the promotion to Reading came. Talking about how he was moved up a third time, Bohm said “I haven’t put much thought into how long I’m going to stay and I’m taking it one day at a time.”
Adam Haseley was recently promoted to the major league team but got hurt and spent time on the IL. His rehab games in Reading coincided with Bohm’s first week there. When asked about Haseley, Bohm said “Adam is a great guy to have around and he’s really helpful and he’ll talk to you and, you know, he’s a really great guy to have around and look up to and watch him work and go about his business because he’s a professional and it’s really good to watch.”
Talking about his hitting philosophy, Bohm said “I just put the bat on the ball. Just hit it hard. Not necessarily trying to hit it this hard for this far or anything like that. I’m not a launch angle guy. I try to keep it as simple as possible.”
According to Bohm, the pitchers at Double A “are older, they’re smarter and have better command, those guys have been around awhile and they know what works for them and they are going to use it.”
An area of concern of Bohm’s coming out of college was his defense. “I worked a lot at third base and on defense not to prove anyone wrong but to be the best player I can be” he said after being asked about that. Bohm won Defensive Player of the Month earlier in the year. “I’ve never questioned my ability over there so it was nice to get the award and was a token of the hard work I put in.”
Bohm was asked about which third basemen that he watches and he quickly mentioned Kris Bryant, another big, powerful player. When asked about Mike Schmidt, the finest player in Phillies’s history, Bohm smiled and said he’s seen some of him on YouTube.
Reading won the game 6-1 in front of the 6,410 fans who attended Fireworks Night. Here are some notes and impressions from the players I saw during batting practice and the game itself.
Alec Bohm: In his debut in front of the Reading faithful, Bohm showed why he is the organization’s top prospect. He flied out in his first at-bat but homered to deep left-center in the 4th inning. He also walked in the 6th inning. Bohm looked good in the field turning a double play and making a nice running catch in foul ground in the 9th inning. He was charged with a throwing error but it was on a ground ball to his far left that he had to rush to pick it up bare-handed. He looked smooth doing the play until the error, however.
Adam Haseley: The outfielder was playing at Reading to continue his rehab and went 1-4. During batting practice, he was talking with the other players and signing autographs for fans. Most importantly, he looked healthy and ready to get back to game action for the Major League team.
Mickey Moniak: Moniak looked about what I expected at the plate – slappish, if that could be a word. He took a walk but, earlier in the game, struck out easily in the 4th inning. I was surprised to see he was ranked 3rd in the Eastern League in hits with 73 and he’s also ranked 3rd in at-bats. Moniak also leads the league in triples with 9, 4 more than the next player. On this night, he didn’t impress me much but the year-to-date numbers and his approach has gotten better since last mid-season.
JoJo Romero: Romero looked very sharp last night making it two solid games in a row. His fastball was routinely hitting the mid-90’s while his off-speed stuff was in the low 80’s. He got the win after going 5 innings with 5 strikeouts while giving up only 5 hits and 1 earned run.
Darick Hall: It was difficult not to notice Hall during batting practice. The ball makes a loud pop coming off his bat. He hit a few deep home runs and fly balls to the outfield. Hall flied out twice during the game and walked and struck out once apiece. Strikeouts and home runs are both a part of his game.
Arquimedes Gamboa: The shortstop had two walks, a stolen base and made some nice plays in the field. He jammed his finger sliding into 2nd base on his stolen base and was replaced the next inning by Cornelius Randolph. He oozes confidence in the field. He wasn’t flashy but he looked like he wanted the batters to hit the ball to him every pitch.
Cornelius Randolph: Randolph didn’t start the game but he hit a single to drive in two runs in the 8th inning. He worked a full count before lining the ball into center field. He is shorter than I expected especially seeing him standing next to Hall and Bohm during BP.
Jarren Duran: It was only 4 at-bats but Duran looked okay at the plate. He struck out on 3 pitches in both of his last two at-bats and singled twice earlier in the game. He’s a work in progress, though, and it was only his 21st game in Double A after hitting very well at the lower levels.
Durbin Feltman: The fastball was there last night, hitting high 90’s. Feltman was wild, needing 22 pitches through his one inning. He walked Gamboa and got Jose Gomez to strike out swinging. He was all over the plate last night throwing a lot of high pitches but he induced two ground outs to end the inning unscored. The ball has a lot of pop coming out of his hand, though.
Bobby Dalbec: The powerful third baseman wasn’t in the lineup last night and didn’t play in the game, unfortunately.
Cody Asche: The former Phillie is on Portland’s injured list so I wasn’t able to watch him play last night but seeing his name on the roster made me think back when he was one of the top Phillies prospects by default many years ago. The farm system had made some great strides since those days.