Spring 2018

Bohm's Bat

When the Philadelphia Phillies selected third baseman Alec Bohm, above, with the No. 3 overall pick in Major League Baseball’s amateur draft on June 4, Bohm became Wichita State’s highest draft pick since pitcher Braden Looper in 1996. Photos by Dale Stelz.

Hard-hitting third baseman Alec Bohm stays in the moment and leads a parade of drafted Shockers as the No. 3 overall pick of the Philadelphia Phillies.

Alec Bohm spent a decent chunk of his final spring at Wichita State deflecting draft talk and destroying baseballs during his junior season. One proved easier than the other for Bohm, a power-packed, 6-foot-5 right-handed hitter and third baseman from Omaha, Neb.

“I’ve tried not to get too far ahead of myself – that ‘counting the chickens before they hatch’ type of thing,” Bohm says after a May 15 loss to Kansas State that would be his last game in a Shocker uniform at Eck Stadium. “I’ve just tried to focus on this team and each day I have coming up, the next game, the next at-bat, the next pitch sort of thing.”

Buoyed by his own words that “nothing is promised,” Bohm performed well in his last six games before the Shockers’ season – and his collegiate career – ended with a 7-2 loss to South Florida in the American Athletic Conference tournament. Wichita State finished with a 35-21-1 record.

Eleven days later, on June 4, the drumbeat of commentary from baseball analysts that Bohm had put on silent mode during his most productive college season came in loud and clear. The Philadelphia Phillies selected him with the 

No. 3 overall pick of Major League Baseball’s amateur draft, a moment captured live on MLB Network with the 21-year-old in attendance with his parents, Dan and Lisa, at the draft headquarters in Secaucus, N.J.

Bohm became the Shockers’ 15th first-round draft pick and the highest selection since former pitcher Braden Looper was chosen No. 3 by the St. Louis Cardinals in 1996. While the Shockers were stung by missing the NCAA tournament for the fifth consecutive season, the draft provided a highlight. Bohm was the first of 10 Shockers drafted from the 2018 roster over three days, matching the 1999 and 2008 teams for the most in one season. In addition to Bohm, junior Greyson Jenista was drafted by the Atlanta Braves in the second round.

Other Shockers selected by major-league teams were: 

Codi Heuer (6th round, Chicago White Sox), Gunnar Troutwine (9th, White Sox), Chandler Sanburn (9th, Texas Rangers), Dayton Dugas (16th, Detroit Tigers), Keylan Killgore (17th, Phillies), Trey Vickers (30th, Washington Nationals), Cody Tyler (32nd, San Diego Padres) and Luke Ritter (37th, Minnesota Twins).

The Phillies made Bohm the Shockers’ third consecutive first-round selection from Omaha. In 2008, third baseman Conor Gillaspie was chosen in the opening round by the San Francisco Giants, while his younger brother, Casey, was taken by the Tampa Bay Rays in 2014, the first season under WSU head coach Todd Butler.

“Alec handled the draft and all the pressure that comes with it exceptionally well,” Butler says. “We had scouts at every game and a lot of sit-down meetings with them after games. 

Just the time that goes into that, and the time that these major-league teams put into first-round picks that they’re investing millions of dollars in after background checks, character checks, academics – Alec did a fantastic job with all of it.”


Alec Bohm batted .339 with 16 home runs and
55 RBI in 57 games as a junior. A Golden Spikes
Award semifinalist and second-team All-American
by Baseball America, Bohm became the highest
draft pick in American Athletic Conference history.
He was one of 10 players on the 2018 Shocker
roster drafted by major-league teams this spring.

Bohm’s offensive statistics at Wichita State charted upward from the moment he entered his first game as a freshman pinch hitter against Northern Colorado in 2016 – and smashed a two-run home run. He increased his runs scored, hits, home runs, RBI and slugging percentage each season. Bohm also drew more 

walks (39) than strikeouts (28) as a junior while batting .339 with 16 homers and 55 RBI.

The question Bohm faced, and will continue to face as a professional, centered on his defense. “I needed to get quicker, smoother, everything,” he says. “There’s been a lot of repetition and as I look at the last couple years, I’ve made a lot of progress and gotten a lot more athletic. I have a better first step, better hands, better footwork. It’s started to come together.”

To aid that progress, Bohm spent the summer after his freshman season playing for the Wilmington (N.C.) Sharks, a team coached by Scott Wingo, who played second base on two College World Series championship teams at South Carolina.

Both Bohm and teammate Jenista benefitted last summer from playing in the prestigious Cape Cod Baseball League. Bohm was a league all-star for the Falmouth Commodores after finishing second in batting at .351, while Jenista, a Eudora, Kan., native, earned league MVP honors for the Cotuit Kettleers.

After playing 46 games at third base and 12 at first base as a sophomore, Bohm started all 57 games at third for the Shockers in his final season.

“He’s a very athletic player,” says Johnny Almaraz, the Phillies’ director of amateur scouting. “He’s a good third baseman. With some instruction, I believe that he’s got a chance to be an average to above-average third baseman at the major-league level. He can really hit. He’s got what I call wide-field power, which means that he can hit homers from gap to gap.”

Bohm is just the second third baseman the Phillies have drafted in the first round – the last came in 1998, when they took Pat Burrell first overall from the University of Miami.


Greyson Jenista (30), Alec Bohm, center, and Gunnar Troutwine
(14) were among five Shocker players chosen in the first nine
rounds of the 2018 Major League Baseball amateur draft. The
Atlanta Braves picked Jenista in the second round, while the
Chicago White Sox chose Troutwine in the ninth round.

Former WSU head coach Gene Stephenson managed all of the Shockers’ other top-10 overall draft picks: Joe Carter, Bryan Oelkers, Tyler Green, Darren Dreifort, Mike Pelfrey and Looper. He sees qualities in Bohm that he believes will bode well for his future as a professional. “He has not only the physical tools, but the mental capacity to be a very good player,” Stephenson says. “I know he’s a very good competitor. He comes to the ballpark every day, from what I’ve seen, ready to play with an even-keel attitude, which is very important in baseball.”

Bohm’s long, 225-pound frame reminds Stephenson of Chicago Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant, the No. 2 pick of the 2013 draft who helped the Cubs win the 2016 World Series. It’s a sentiment echoed by Butler, who says Bohm has the potential to fit the mold of Bryant and another tall former major-league third baseman, Troy Glaus.

The unique quality that Bohm possesses is his ability to frequently make good contact throughout an at-bat.

“I don’t like to wait around and get behind,” Bohm says. “If I get a pitch over the plate early, I want to do some damage with it and drive in some runs. Overall, just through all the at-bats I’ve had through the years, they’ve helped me mature as a player and a hitter.”

In his scouting report on Bohm, Manny Randhawa of MLB.com noted that the newest member of the Phillies organization “manages the strike zone well and makes consistent hard contact from the right side of the plate. Bohm understands that he doesn’t have to sell out to hit home runs, so he doesn’t, letting his power come naturally.”

Those skills landed Bohm a life-changing evening in June. The Phillies announced his signing June 12 with a reported bonus of $5.85 million. After taking a round of batting practice at Philadelphia’s Citizens Bank Park, Bohm, a Golden Spikes Award semifinalist and second-team All-America selection by Baseball America, headed to Clearwater, Fla., to begin workouts.

Phillies scouting director Almaraz summed up Bohm’s appeal this way: “Alec Bohm is a tremendous offensive player. He is a middle of the order bat, a big power-hitting third baseman who could be a .300 hitter and drive in 100-plus runs.”

Bohm says, “It’s been a long process since I stepped foot out here with getting in better shape, becoming a better hitter, maturing overall. Each summer I’ve made progress and I’ve improved every season. I’d like to keep doing that. I have a long way to go – and want to keep building on that.”


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Bohm's Bat

Hard-hitting third baseman Alec Bohm stays in the moment and leads a parade of drafted Shockers as the No. 3 overall pick of the Philadelphia Phillies.