The Phillies will look for Alec Bohm to continue progressing at the hot corner.
As we continue to make our way through the Philadelphia Phillies infield, it is time to discuss third base. This time a year ago, there was doubt about the club's talent at the position. Alec Bohm had come off a rough offensive and defensive year. There were even talks the Phillies could trade the young third baseman.
Skip ahead to this spring, and Bohm has solidified himself as an everyday player and will go into the 2023 season as the team's starting third baseman. The team also has depth options — similar to second base — in Edmundo Sosa and Josh Harrison.
In 2022, the Phillies had a relatively rough start to the season. There were injuries, bullpen blowups, and questionable managerial decisions. Bohm had his share of struggles. Most notably, he had major defensive blunders and games in which he committed multiple errors. To Bohm's credit, he did not get discouraged, continued working, and improved defensively throughout the season. He also raised his fielding percentage from .936 in 2021 to .962 in 2022 at the hot corner, despite posting -17 defensive runs saved. There is still work to do, but hopefully, Bohm can improve both numbers in 2023.
Bohm's offense also improved drastically from his 2021 campaign. In 2022, Bohm slashed .280/.315/.398 and raised his OPS to .713 from .647 in the prior season. While his power numbers were lower than the Phillies would have hoped, there is a chance for those to improve, as Bohm reportedly has added strength over the offseason.
Bohm hit just 13 home runs in 586 at-bats in 2022, and the team will look for him to increase that total. Since he has bulked up, Bohm improving his power numbers would boost the Phillies' offense while they miss Bryce Harper's bat for the first few months.
In terms of depth, Sosa and Harrison are both reliable options to play third base if Bohm needs a day off or takes on the designated hitter role as Harper mends. Sosa played third at times last year and was often used as a defensive replacement at the position in the postseason. Harrison also has experience playing third base, and while he is not as defensively apt as Sosa, he can play the position if Sosa is needed elsewhere.
Like other infield positions, the Phillies are in good shape at third base. While Bohm will not likely be a Gold Glove-caliber defender soon, he has shown the ability to improve and adjust. Bohm's strides at the plate also give a reason for optimism. His progression and ability to continue improving will be a factor in the team's chances to succeed in 2023.