Add another name to the list of veterans that were very impressed by the rookie year that Alec Bohm had for the Philadelphia Phillies in 2020.
In addition to revealing that he’s been medically cleared from the UCL procedure that he had last October, Rhys Hoskins talked Monday about what his takeaways were from watching Bohm’s first major league action.
“Kid can hit…kid can really hit…kid can play some baseball,” Hoskins said of Bohm. “It was pretty impressive to see some of the at-bats that he was taking, especially later on in the season when those games started to mean just a little bit more…we knew that we had some games that we needed to win to try to get into the playoffs. But he wasn’t shaken at all, which I thought was really, really cool to see…just getting thrown into the fire as a rookie, and just getting called up in the season that we had last year was hard enough…let alone being thrown into the middle of the lineup and producing the way that he was.
“I don’t want to put a ceiling on him, I don’t wanna say anything and put a ceiling on him. But he’s definitely one of the more talented hitters that I’ve been around at the age that he is. So with the work ethic that he has, I don’t see why he can’t be anything that he’s striving to be for sure.”
So was Bohm the most advanced player that Hoskins has seen come through the Phillies system since he’s been on the team?
“Approach wise, no doubt,” Hoskins responded. “I think his knack or his willingness to take the little dink single to right field was something that was impressive to see. It’s good for the rest of our lineup too – knowing the way the game is going with shifts and everything – to know that we have hitters in the lineup one through nine that can do that. So, super impressive, man, I’m excited to get to hit around him.”
Bohm, the former No. 3 overall pick, slashed .338/.400/.481 with an .881 OPS in his rookie season, while hitting an unconscious .452 with runners in scoring position.
Last week, two-time All-Star J.T. Realmuto smiled when talking about how excited he is to see Bohm continue to mature at the plate. One area that the Phillies hope to see growth from Bohm in his first full major league season is his power output. Though Bohm was an excellent run producer in his rookie season, he hit just four home runs in 160 at-bats.
That said, the average distance of those four home runs that Bohm hit was 411.5 feet. The power is in there, it just needs to be unlocked. Part of that might come with Bohm’s body continuing to develop. The 24-year-old has not yet been made available to the media this spring, but Joe Girardi said Monday that he’s happy that Bohm appears a bit bigger this spring, suggesting that he still believes he’s filling out. Girardi noted that as is, Bohm was really good, but continuing to develop and add muscle will help him to hit the ball harder. Perhaps then, some of those harder hit balls will end up in the stands.
The irony in Hoskins being so complimentary of Bohm is that there are some who believe that the Phillies could ultimately end up having to decide between the two at first base.
Bohm had -5 defensive runs saved at third base in his rookie year, and while continuing to get bigger may help him offensively, it’s fair to wonder what effect it will have defensively. Bohm did spend 51 innings at first base in his rookie season, and looked much more comfortable at the position. If Bohm doesn’t make great strides at third base this year, it’s possible that the Phillies will want to move him to first base on a regular basis, which would create an uncertain future for Hoskins with the club.
Of course, the possibility also exists that the Phillies experiment with Bohm in left field next season if things don’t work out at third base, especially since Andrew McCutchen will come off the books after 2021. There’s also a very real chance that Bohm will be able to slide to first base and still co-exist with Hoskins if the DH returns to the National League in 2022, which most think it will as part of a new collective bargaining agreement.
One way or another, the Phillies would love to keep Bohm, Hoskins, Realmuto and Bryce Harper in the lineup for a few seasons together, because they figure to generate quite a bit of runs.
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