Which Philadelphia Phillies will improve in 2022?
The 2021 Philadelphia Phillies were, as they often are, an interesting mix of stellar and mediocre. At one end of the spectrum, they had Zack Wheeler and Bryce Harper; at the other end, they had Alec Bohm and pretty much the entire bullpen.
With 2021 in the rearview mirror and 2022 hurtling towards us, it’s time to look at the players who will improve next year, and the ones who won’t.
Ideally, every player would get better year after year, but let’s be realistic. Here are two players who should conceivably have a better 2022 than 2021, and two who won’t.
Alec Bohm will improve in 2022
There’s pretty much nowhere to go but up for Alec Bohm, whose sophomore slump was shockingly bad. He went from 2020 NL Rookie of the Year runner-up to being benched and sent to Triple-A in 2021.
Of course, Bohm’s rookie season was a short one; he only played 44/60 games in 2020, so it’s safe to assume that he probably wouldn’t have hit .388 over an entire 162-game season. However, the contrast between his first and second seasons is stark; he hit .247/.305/.342 with a .647 OPS over 115 games in 2021, with 15 doubles and seven home runs.
Bohm’s plate discipline unraveled in 2021; his strikeout rate increased from 20% to 26.6%, while his walk rate decreased from 8.9% to 7.4%. The Phillies’ combined 1,402 strikeouts were just below the league average 1,405, but they were below-average in hits and exactly average in runs scored and home runs.
The only encouraging numbers are his exit velocity and percentage of hard-hit balls, which both increased in 2021. His exit velocity improved from 90.2 mph to 92.0, and his hard-hit shot up from 46.8% to 49.8%.
The Phillies have poached hitting coach Kevin Long from the Washington Nationals, and it’s a safe bet to say that fixing Bohm is at the top of his to-do list when the lockout ends.