Since his debut in 2020, Alec Bohm has been a major topic of discussion for many Phillies fans. 2020 he hit 338/400/481 for an OPS of 881. He finished 2nd in Rookie of the Year voting behind Devin Williams. He was considered the 3rd baseman of the future and everyone including myself was very excited to see what he would do in his sophomore season.
In that sophomore season, he again was a major topic of discussion, for the wrong reasons. He hit 247/305/342 for an OPS of 647 and an OPS+ of 75. The league average OPS+ is 100, so Alec Bohm was 25 points below the average major-league hitter. Alec Bohm’s defense also has been much maligned throughout his career and in 2021 he committed 15 errors, the most in MLB that season among 3rd basemen.
2022 did not start great for Bohm as in a game against the Mets in April, he committed three errors and got caught saying "I bleeping hate this place" which could have led to something as drastic as the end of his career. However, something changed. He gave an apology for the mistake and the very next night he was given a standing ovation by fans when he came up to pinch hit. He would finish that year hitting 280/315/398 with a 713 OPS for a 101 OPS+. He also hit 13 home runs that season which nearly doubled his previous career high of seven.
This past season, he once again improved. He hit 274/315/398 for an OPS of 765 and an OPS+ of 106. He also cracked the 20-home run threshold this year with exactly 20 home runs. His DRS or defensive runs saved improved 7 points from the previous season -17 to -10. While he is still not great, it is certainly a massive improvement from where he was before. Going into his 5th season, why is he the most important player for the Phillies?
Yes, over guys like Bryce Harper, Zack Wheeler, Aaron Nola, and Nick Castellanos. Other budding young talents like Bryson Stott, Brandon Marsh, Johan Rojas, or even Orion Kerkering. I believe that Bohm has the most star potential of any of them. Listed at 6’5 218 lbs, he has a body built for power, something that he has slowly been tapping into more and more over the years and this is the year for him to fully break out. Our hitting core of the previously mentioned Harper and Castellanos along with JT Realmuto, Kyle Schwarber, and Trea Turner isn’t getting younger, all of them are on the wrong side of 30 with Turner being 30 and the oldest being JT who is 32. While I expect all of them to produce, we saw slippage from Realmuto last year and with catchers generally not playing well into their mid-30s, I doubt he gets much better.
Alec Bohm is 27, and entering his prime. If he can take another major step forward, he could take some of the pressure off of guys like Realmuto. Per Baseball Reference’s projections, Bohm is projected to hit 274/324/412 for an OPS of 736. He is also projected to hit 15 home runs. This type of season from Bohm would be a huge step back as the Phillies need him to be a threat in this lineup.
This season, I believe that Bohm needs to hit between 275-280 for average, over a 320 OBP, over a 410 slugging, and have an OPS+ of over 110. I also would like at a minimum, 25 home runs. This would give them another major power threat to an already potent lineup filled with some of the top sluggers at their respective positions. Another major reason he is so important is for the playoffs.
Over the past couple of years, the Phillies have made some deep playoff runs. A World Series appearance in 2022 and this past season, reaching the NLCS. A major reason for them losing in these playoff series is because of the offense going cold. While the blame should be spread out to everyone for not performing, something that I have noticed is that teams won’t pitch to Bryce Harper and/or Kyle Schwarber and force guys like Bohm to deliver a big hit. Bohm has hit 237 in his playoff career and that must improve. If he could become a force to go along with the bats at the top of the lineup, it would force teams to have to pitch to Harper, Schwarber, Turner, and others. This could be the difference between winning a World Series and falling agonizingly short once again.
While there are many important players on the Phillies this season, Alec Bohm’s development is certainly the biggest. He has the chance to hit 25-30 home runs which none of the other young Phillies players don’t necessarily have the potential to do and aren’t being asked to do so. Alec Bohm has been a talking point for many seasons, it’s time for him to deliver.