Phillies Nation

2020 Offseason

Can Alec Bohm sustain his rookie-year production?


In 2020, rookie third baseman Alec Bohm was the biggest bright spot for a Philadelphia Phillies team that missed the playoffs for the ninth consecutive season.

Alec Bohm had an impressive rookie season for the Phillies. (Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire)

The Phillies took Bohm with the third overall pick in the 2018 draft out of Wichita State. He quickly rose through the minor league system, and made his major league debut on Aug. 13.

Immediately, Bohm demonstrated why he was the organization’s top prospect. He hit .344 over his first 10 games and although he struggled for a short stretch afterwards, he showed a professional approach against big league pitching despite never playing a game in Triple-A.

In September, Bohm really took off. In 29 games, he slashed .367/.421/.514 in a stretch that propelled him into a tight race for the National League Rookie of the Year Award. His 40 hits in the month were the second most in all of baseball, just behind Atlanta Braves slugger Marcell Ozuna.

Bohm had multiple hits in 14 September games, which is more than each of Bryce Harper, J.T. Realmuto and Rhys Hoskins had over the entire season. His hot finish was enough for him to end the season with a .338 batting average, the highest for a Phillies rookie since Lonnie Smith hit .339 in 1980.

While Bohm was excellent, there is some reason to think his 2020 production is unsustainable. His .410 batting average on balls in play (BABIP) was the third highest of any player with at least 150 plate appearances during the 2020 season.

Bohm’s batted ball profile will lend to a generally high BABIP. He hits plenty of line drives and ground balls, and rarely puts the ball in the air. His 25.4% fly ball percentage was the 12th lowest in baseball.

In fact, per Fangraphs, Bohm did not hit a single infield fly ball in 2020. Sustaining that will be difficult, but it will certainly lend itself to a higher BABIP for Bohm.

And while his groundball percentage, 53.2%, was the 14th highest in baseball, his spray chart is not conducive to an effective defensive shift. He pulls the ball 29.4% of the time, hits it up the middle 43.7% of the time and hits it to the opposite field 27% of the time.

Bohm’s 46.8% hard-hit percentage was in the 84th percentile in baseball, per Baseball Savant. His hitting profile aligned the most with Washington Nationals shortstop Trea Turner and Chicago White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson, according to the site, and both players hit well over .300 in 2020.

Bohm’s 2020 production would likely have been somewhat unsustainable over a full season, but he still has room to grow as a player. He hit only four home runs this season, and though he could develop into a player who hits 30 plus home runs, he does not profile as that right now.

Perhaps Bohm tapping into his power would mean more fly balls, which would decrease his batting average. But the Phillies would certainly take a boost in power at that expense.

The bigger question with Bohm moving forward will be where he fits defensively. While he has been a third baseman to this point, it is unclear whether he fits at the position long-term. But one thing is clear: Bohm is set to be a reliable bat in the middle of the Phillies lineup for years to come.

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Prickly Pete Salmonella

    October 27, 2020 at 7:44 pm

    Let’s see if Hoskins can hit for more than one 6 week streak a year. If so Bohm stays at 3rd or DH. If Hoskins can only hit 6 weeks a year trade him after a hot streak and move Bohm to 1B. Let’s see how it plays out this year (Just like the CF situation)

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