I think it’s safe to say the biggest surprise and maybe the best storyline of the 2020 Phillies, was the emergence of Alec Bohm.
The 2018 third overall pick made his big league debut on August 13 last season, and only proceeded to become the best pure hitter on the team over a two month stretch. Bohm slashed a very impressive .338/.400/.481 over 44 games for the Fightin Phils, adding four home runs and 23 RBI’s. Bohm’s issues defensively crept up on him, but even in the two months, progress was clearly made towards the end of the season.
He finished second in rookie of the year voting, and probably would have won the award if Devin Williams of the Brewers didn’t post one of the most absurd stat lines for a reliever, even if it was only in 22 games. Bohm was one of the main reasons the Phillies stayed alive in the playoff race until the final week of games, producing clutch hit after clutch hit, and being a consistent force in an already loaded lineup.
What could go right?
It seems fairly obvious, but what could go right is Bohm continues to hit at a >.280 clip, and improve his slugging numbers which only seems bound to happen. The kid is far too strong for the power to not come at some point this season, and if he can hover around league average like he did last year in BB%, we could be looking at the best offensive season by a Phillies third baseman since the Scott Rolen years. A slight dip in average is expected, but even then, I think we’re clearly looking at a consistent .280 or better kind of hitter who is going to hit roughly 25 dingers a season.
What would be even bigger for Bohm though, since the offense has never really been in question, is if his glove can continue to progress. Bohm came in at a -5 DRS last season, and if he can just improve that to hang around 0 or maybe even slightly above, I think we’re looking at a very productive season from him.
What could go wrong?
Simply put, a sophomore slump.
A slump that would compare somewhat to how Rhys Hoskins faired in 2018 over the final few months after a strong start. The difference between these two players though, is the coaching staff around them. Joe Dillon is an obvious upgrade over John Mallee, and Joe Girardi is light years ahead of Gabe Kapler. They won’t mess with Bohm’s swing which is arguably the prettiest on the Phillies roster, or at least that’s the hope.
And of course worst case his glove continues to be below average and a bit of a liability at the hot corner. If this does happen, and Hoskins continues to struggle, a move to first base could be in the not so distant future.