Though the Philadelphia Phillies and J.T. Realmuto believe that the catcher will likely be recovered from a fractured right thumb in time for opening day, the catcher did acknowledge Thursday there’s an outside chance he could miss a few games to open the season out of an abundance of caution.
If that would happen, it could open up the door for Alec Bohm, entering his first full major league season, to hit cleanup in Joe Girardi’s lineup. If Realmuto is ready, there’s a good chance Bohm could be hitting fifth and protecting him in the lineup.
Either way, Realmuto said Thursday that he’s excited to see how Bohm develops in his second year on the team.
“Absolutely, because he’s just such a pure hitter,” Realmuto said when asked if he’s eager to see how Bohm’s power develops. “He’s got that approach where he can hit a line drive to right field anytime he wants. And the thing about guys trying to create more power is that sometimes they can lose that, but he’s got the benefit of having so much strength and he’s kind of got lengthy power where he can hit home runs to right-center [field] and not really have to change his approach. I think he’s one of the rare guys that can hit for 25, 30 home runs but still have a high batting average and still get on base a lot.”
Bohm finished second in National League Rookie of the Year Award voting in 2020, slashing .338/.400/.481 with 23 RBIs and an .881 OPS in 44 games.
While he was already an elite run producer in his rookie campaign, the one area offensively that there does appear to be room for growth from Bohm is as a power hitter. He seemingly has the body type to hit for more power than the four home runs that he had in 160 at-bats a season ago.
Two summers ago, Charlie Manuel said at the Futures Game that he thought Bohm, the No. 3 overall pick in the 2018 MLB Draft, could someday hit “anywhere from 25 to 30 to 40 home runs.” Bohm would finish his minor league career with just 21 home runs in 614 at-bats, though.
Still, the 24-year-old has given you flashes. The four home runs that he hit during his rookie season travelled an average of 411.5 feet. The power is in there, it’s just a matter of hitting coach Joe Dillon and company helping him to unlock it. If he already had an OPS north of .880 without really being a consistent home run threat, imagine what his numbers would look like if he became a player that regularly hit 30 or more home runs.
Bohm isn’t a perfect player. He has untapped potential as a power hitter, and there are legitimate questions about whether he’ll be able to stick at third base in the long run. But Realmuto couldn’t help but smile when talking about Bohm, who Bryce Harper said last year he thought could win an MVP eventually. When players of that caliber are fans of yours, it’s usually a pretty good sign.
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