This series on the most random 1971-2019 Philadelphia Phillies players, known at The Bell as the ‘Phillies 50‘, wraps up the decade of the 2010’s with the position player who combined low impact on the 2010 Phillies ball club with a minimal big-league career.
Brian Bocock is one of the players in this series who was least likely to ever get a shot to pull on the Phillies red pinstripes, and yet there he was over the final three weeks of the 2010 season. So, how did he get there?
Born and raised in Harrisonburg, Virginia, about 130 miles northwest of Richmond and southwest of Washington, D.C., Bocock was a ninth round draft pick of the San Francisco Giants in 2006 out of Stetson University in Florida.
The very next summer he got to take part in one of baseball’s biggest prospect showcases when he played on Team USA in the 2007 All-Star Futures Game. More than that, the game was held at AT&T Park, home of the Giants, for whom Bocock hoped to play one day:
“I was in the place I want to make my home one day,” said Bocock per Rusty Simmons at SFGate at the time. “It was a lot of fun, but I don’t want to make this the only time I get to play here.”
Little did Bocock know, he wouldn’t have to wait long for his next appearance in the City by the Bay. After two years in the Giants’ farm system, Bocock found himself as the 2008 Opening Day shortstop thanks largely to an injury to Omar Vizquel, their 40-year-old starter who was winding down a marvelous career. Nathaniel Stoltz at Bleacher Report wrote about that decision:
“They handed their shortstop job to Bocock, who hit .220/.293/.328 last year in the Cal League. That’s right, Giants’ fans, your Opening Day shortstop put up a 621 OPS last year in the best hitter’s league in baseball, good for the worst mark of any player in that league. Bocock shouldn’t have even been invited to Spring Training, let alone make the team. Speaking of Spring Training, Bocock hit a ridiculous .188, so it’s not like he’s turned around. Giants brass ignored this and simply raved about how he hadn’t committed any errors.”
Bocock would spend the entire first five weeks of that 2008 season with San Francisco. He registered his first big-league hit on April Fool’s Day in his first-ever plate appearance, a single off Derek Lowe at Dodger Stadium. In the top of the 7th inning his bases loaded walk against LA’s Joe Beimel brought home Ray Durham with the first run of the game, giving Bocock his first career run batted in.
In all, Bocock would slash just .143/.258/.156 over 93 plate appearances across 32 games with the Giants in that introduction to Major League Baseball. He registered one double, scored four runs, knocked in two, and swiped four bases. Bocock appeared at shortstop in 29 games, making 25 starts in which he committed four errors.
With Vizquel ready to return, Bocock made his final appearance on May 8. He was then shipped out to the minor leagues where he would toil for the remainder of the 2008 and all of the 2009 seasons.
Given his release after that 2009 campaign, Bocock was briefly signed by the Toronto Blue Jays in early January 2010. The Jays released him themselves just three weeks later, and on January 26, 2010 he was signed by the Phillies and invited to spring training in Clearwater.
Bocock spent the 2010 season at age 25 as the starting shortstop with the Triple-A Lehigh Valley IronPigs, hitting a weak .226 with just 18 extra-base hits over 439 plate appearances. Promoted briefly in late June as insurance due to an injury to Chase Utley, Bocock didn’t get into any games and was returned to the IronPigs.
When rosters expanded in September, Bocock got the call as infield depth with a Phillies ball club that was in a battle with the Atlanta Braves, trying to capture a fourth consecutive NL East Division crown.
The Phillies were up in the standings by just one game when Bocock made his debut with the team in a Monday night September 13, 2010 game at Sun Life Stadium against the host Florida Marlins. With the club leading the Fish by 11-1 in the 7th inning, Bocock was entered by manager Charlie Manuel as a replacement for Placido Polanco. In the top of the 9th inning he would ground out weakly against Marlins’ reliever Jorge Sosa in his lone at-bat.
Bocock had joined the Phillies in the midst of a tight division race. But he also joined at a great time. That win in Miami was the second of what would grow to be an 11-game winning streak. By the time it ended 11 days later, the Phillies had blown out to a seven-game lead. They would clinch that fourth straight division title in an 8-0 shutout from Roy Halladay in Washington on Monday, September 27.
After that point there were still five games remaining in the regular season. Bocock would see action in all of them, inserted either to give shortstop Jimmy Rollins a late-innings break or as a pinch-runner. He was not included on the postseason roster, and the Phillies would ultimately be eliminated in the NLCS by his former Giants teammates.
Back at Lehigh Valley in 2011, Bocock was again unimpressive and the Phillies finally released him late in the summer. He would spend the next few years bouncing across a handful of organizations but was never given another big-league opportunity.
Bocock did enjoy a nice individual moment during spring training of 2012 when belted a go-ahead 9th inning home run off Michael Stutes in a game against the Phillies on Saint Patrick’s Day at Bright House Field.