Alec Bohm and Spencer Howard both have legitimate chances to impact the Phillies' Major League roster in 2020. They will get a chance to improve their odds in just a few weeks.
The Phillies extended non-roster invitations to their top two prospects to Major League Spring Training camp on Monday. Pitchers and catchers are due to report to Philadelphia's complex in Clearwater, Florida on Feb. 11 with full-squad workouts starting six days later.
Ranked as MLB.com's No. 34 overall prospect, Bohm will build on a positive first full season in the Philadelphia system in his second Spring Training. The 2018 third overall pick hit .305/.378/.518 with 21 homers, four triples and 30 doubles in 125 games at Class A Lakewood, Class A Advanced Clearwater and Double-A Reading in 2019. His 161 wRC+ was tops among qualified Phillies Minor Leaguers. The right-handed slugger also played in the Arizona Fall League, where he hit .361/.397/.528 with two homers over 19 games and was named an AFL Rising Star, and with Team USA in the Premier12 tournament.
The 23-year-old was drafted as a third baseman but also got experience at first base during both the 2019 regular season and AFL campaign. The big club's biggest opening at present is at third base, where Scott Kingery slots in following the departure of Maikel Franco, but it's possible Bohm could also play in a corner outfield spot this spring as the Phillies try to make room for his above-average offensive potential.
Video: Reading's Bohm drills dinger
Howard, who is ranked 88th overall, is the Phillies' top pitching prospect. The 23-year-old right-hander missed time with a shoulder injury in 2019 but still managed to finish with a 2.03 ERA, 94 strikeouts and only 16 walks over 71 innings across three levels. He was especially dominant with Double-A Reading, where he had a 2.35 ERA, 0.95 WHIP and 38 K's over 30 2/3 frames. Like Bohm, Howard appeared in the AFL, where he had a 2.11 ERA and 27 strikeouts in 21 1/3 innings.
Offseason MiLB include
On stuff alone, Howard could help the Phils right away. His fastball typically sits in the mid-90s but is capable of touching even higher, earning plus-plus grades, while his slider, curveball and changeup give him four solid options. His control improved in 2019, and the whole package gives him a good chance to join the Philadelphia rotation at some point this summer.
No. 8 Mickey Moniak, No. 14 Nick Maton, No. 20 Damon Jones and No. 24 Kyle Dohy were the other ranked Phillies prospects to receive spring invites Monday. Catcher Henri Lartigue; first baseman Darick Hall; utilitymen Austin Listi and Luke Williams; right-handers Connor Brogdon, Ramon Rosso and Addison Russ and left-handers Tyler Gilbert and Zach Warren will also head to Major League camp in Clearwater.