Home Run Derby

Bohm Run Derby: Why Phillies' 3B isn't worried about it ruining his swing

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ATLANTA — Alec Bohm got the call from Major League Baseball and his decision wasn't difficult.

Would he participate in the Home Run Derby?

"I wasn't gonna say no," he said Friday afternoon at Truist Park before the Phillies' series opener against the Braves. "I could have, but I mean, I don't know if there will ever be another chance to do it again."

Bohm is starting for the National League at third base in the All-Star Game on July 16 in Arlington, Texas. The Derby is the night before. He is one of two confirmed participants so far along with Orioles superstar Gunnar Henderson.

It's a surprising selection at first glance because Bohm is more hitter than home run hitter. He has 11 on the season but has been massively productive with a league-leading 28 doubles and 70 RBI.

He's an up-the-middle, line-drive, doubles hitter. But like most major-leaguers, he can launch them in batting practice and that's what the Derby is most similar to. There are points in BP when he does try to pull the ball with authority and those are the swings he'll replicate in Texas.

"I'm just gonna see how many I can hit over the left-field fence, basically," he said. "In the game — obviously, I don't have a lot of home runs — in the game, I'm not trying to hit home runs. I'm trying to hit the ball on the middle of the barrel and essentially whatever happens after that happens, and hopefully, the swing is good enough to hit the ball in the air into the gap and do damage. But in a BP scenario, I feel comfortable with — I'm not gonna say it's a different swing but it's probably not the game swing."

And as for the concern many Phillies fans will surely have …

"As far as it kinda messing up my swing, I don't really have a worry with that," Bohm said. "It's just kinda taking a three-minute round of batting practice and instead of trying to get my swing loose for the game, I'm trying to homer."

Bohm's Home Run Derby pitcher will be Scott Wingo, his former summer ball coach from college. Coincidentally, Wingo was also a roommate of Whit Merrifield's at the University of South Carolina. Wingo threw to Bohm in a Home Run Derby in the Coastal Plains League Bohm's freshman year and he won it.

"I just kinda said if I ever do one, I'll call you," he said.

Bohm's prize for winning that Derby was a bat.

Vladimir Guerrero Jr.'s prize for winning the 2023 Home Run Derby was $1 million.

"I like it," manager Rob Thomson said. "I used to be worried about it with guys getting tired and possibly hurt but with him I don't think it's gonna affect his stroke that much. He's not gonna start hitting uphill just because of a Home Run Derby. Maybe it'll be good for him, just being in the national spotlight. I hope he wins it."

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