By now, you’ve heard the “I hate this place” story a dozen times, and we won’t repeat it here. Suffice it to say that, having rode the wave of prospect hype, a thrilling but unsustainable start to his career, enrollment in daycare, a famous moment of public frustration and subsequent grace, and a brief position change, Alec Bohm has established himself as a familiar face at the Bank, an everyday third baseman with a limited glove but a solid bat. While nothing about his 2023 was terribly surprising, there’s a few trends worth looking at.
2023 stats: 145 G, 611 PA, 20 HR, 97 RBI, 42 BB, .274/.327/.437, 1.1 fWAR
Over the course of 2023, Bohm proved himself to be a more patient and disciplined hitter than he had been in the past. He swung less at pitches in the zone than ever before, but made better contact on those that he did go after at a greater rate than ever before. He improved his contact rate on pitches outside the zone as well. He didn’t swing and miss much, ranking in the 89th percentile for whiff rate. The result was a career low in strikeout rate (15.4%, down from 17.4% a year before, and a whopping 26.6% in 2021), along with career highs in walks (42), homers (20) and doubles (31).
A complete look at Bohm’s offensive performance requires a situational lens; you can’t tell the story of his 2023 without noting that he was particularly good with runners in scoring position, hitting .344 when he had the chance to knock in a few RBIs. Compare that .344 to his overall BA of .274, and you start to get the sense that Bohm with empty bases and Bohm with ducks on the pond are almost two different players.
In terms of his fielding, he did cut down on his errors overall (from 13 to 9). His ability to play first also offered a degree of flexibility that proved crucial during Harper’s absence from the defensive side of the game.
Although Bohm’s fielding wasn’t as much of a sore spot this year as last, he wasn’t exceptional at either position he played, and at this point his arm strength and range are what they are. The fact that he played roughly half of the year at a relatively unfamiliar position should be taken into account, and it’s worth noting that his fielding numbers show a significant split: he compiled -5 outs above average overall, comprised of 1 OAA at 3rd and -6 at 1st.
Bohm’s career best numbers in homers and doubles belie the fact that he put up career lows in barrel percentage and exit velocity, suggesting that his improved contact may have come at the cost of some power, at least in the peripherals (although this trend didn’t show up in his slugging percentage of .437, the second best of his career). On the subject of improved contact, while he did show more of an ability to make contact on pitches outside of the zone, he remained too comfortable swinging at them, doing so 30.1% of the time. And even though he did take more free passes than ever before, his walk rate was still subpar, ranking in the 32nd percentile leaguewide.
Having firmly established himself as a Phillies regular, and with a few seasons left on his contract, Bohm figures to be a fixture for the foreseeable future. While he clearly has a ceiling as a defender, a return to third base full-time should allow him to properly showcase how he’s improved as a fielder, and further improvement is possible. His strides towards greater contact and discipline at the plate in 2023 bode well, and there is every reason to expect solid (though not spectacular) production from him with the bat. A rise to All-Star level isn’t likely, but Bohm will continue to help the Phillies win for years to come.