It’s an open secret that the Philadelphia Phillies struggle to develop homegrown talent.
At the deadline, they traded away former top pitching prospect Spencer Howard, in exchange for two full-fledged MLB veteran pitchers and another pitching prospect.
Recently, the former top prospect focus has shifted to Alec Bohm, who is experiencing a sophomore slump of epic proportions after a Rookie of the Year-esque debut season in 2020.
On Twitter, Phillies fans appear to be split into two camps: those who blame Girardi, and those who blame Bohm.
Let’s discuss both…
Phillies fans are blaming Alec Bohm
It’s fair to be upset with players for underperforming, especially after the debut season Bohm had in 2020.
Over 44 games in 2020, he slashed .338/.400/.481 with a .881 OPS, and finished second in NL Rookie of the Year voting. Over 109 games so far this season, he’s hitting .250/.308/.349 with a .656 OPS. Last year, he had more hits than strikeouts; this year, it’s the opposite.
It’s alarming that to see Bohm swinging so terribly on 89 mph fastballs, as he did on Wednesday, but he’s certainly not the only player on this team not producing offensively. He hasn’t been in the starting lineup for the last six games, so where are all the other bats?
Non-fastballs are a completely different story for Bohm, as Paul Boye noted before Wednesday’s game:
Many have also criticized Bohm’s defense, but the writing was on the wall in that aspect since the early scouting reports.
Phillies fans are blaming Joe Girardi
Joe Girardi was also trending on Twitter during and after Wednesday night’s loss, though the trend was a mix of tweets about him and one of the Real Housewives, whose last name is also Girardi.
The Baseball Girardi is drawing ire for his decision to bench Bohm for the veteran Brad Miller, as well as his management of other young players. Hundreds of tweets clamor for his dismissal at the end of the season, though we still do not know how the remainder of the Phillies season will play out.
From an offensive standpoint, it’s fair to question Girardi’s choice of Miller over Bohm. Since July, Bohm’s batting average and on-base percentage are nearly 100 points higher than Miller’s, though their slugging percentages are virtually identical. Besides, Bohm is never going to get better if Girardi benches him game after game.
To play devil’s advocate, the Phillies struggled to develop young talent long before Girardi, and he is only part of a larger organization problem. But ultimately, he is part of the problem, and that in itself is a problem.
Regardless of the cause, the outcome is unacceptable and frustrating. Bohm isn’t succeeding, but his team and manager aren’t putting him in a position to succeed, either.