Phillies’ Alec Bohm named MLB third baseman who has the most to prove in 2022
The Philadelphia Phillies had an abundance of struggles in 2021, from their rotation to their bullpen, to their infield, and their outfield.
So, it’s unfortunate that on a team teeming with disappointment, Alec Bohm still managed to stand out; earlier this month, Bleacher Report ranked Bohm as the MLB third baseman with the most to prove in 2022.
Essentially, saying he was the worst third baseman and worst Phillie in 2021, and that’s saying a lot, given how some of his teammates played.
So, let’s revisit his 2021 struggles and why they were so substantial they merited inclusion on this list.
Bohm came into 2021 riding high. He’d debuted on August 13, 2020 as MLB’s #28 overall prospect and hit .338/.400/.481 with a .881 OPS over 44 games in the shortened season. Included in his 54 hits were 11 doubles and four home runs. He scored 34 runs, drove in 23, drawn 16 walks, and only struck out 36 times. For his efforts, he finished runner-up in NL Rookie of the Year voting.
No one was expecting the same kind of performance over a 162-game season, but Bohm fell off a steep cliff. Over 115 games, he hit .247/.305/.342 with a .647 OPS, 15 doubles, seven home runs, 46 runs scored, and 47 driven in.
So, Bohm’s playing time more than doubled, but his offensive production stayed largely the same, even regressing in certain areas. Instead of improving upon the plate discipline he’d displayed as a rookie, it deteriorated; Bohm struck out 111 times in 115 games, and only drew 31 walks. His walk rate decreased from 8.9% to 7.4%, while his strikeout % increased from 20% to 26.6%. His rOBA (measures offensive contribution) dropped from .385 to .298.
Whereas Bohm had earned 1.4 offensive WAR in 2020, he only gained 0.2 oWAR in his sophomore season. His defensive WAR is even more glaring; he put himself in a -0.5 dWAR deficit after his rookie year and tacked on another -1.4 dWAR in 2021. Over 103 games at third, he committed 15 errors (98 starts, 87 complete games).
By August, Bohm had been sent to Triple-A, where his struggles couldn’t hurt his team’s playoff chances. When the season ended, the Phillies hired Kevin Long as their new hitting coach; he revamped Kyle Schwarber’s swing last offseason, and will be tasked with doing the same for Bohm when the lockout ends.
Of course, several of his teammates probably wouldn’t be included on this list either because they are currently free agents, or because they aren’t big enough names with enough playing time to merit a spot. Nonetheless, Bohm does have a lot to prove next year, and his team is depending on him to improve.