Alec Bohm was on-deck to pinch-hit in the ninth inning of Tuesday’s game against the Braves. If Freddy Galvis was able to get on, he’d have the tying and go-ahead run in scoring position in what was the biggest Phillies game of the decade.
Bohm couldn’t afford to think about that in the on-deck circle. Too much thinking is what got him sent him down to Triple A in the first place.
“I just kind of went down there and stopped thinking so much really,” Bohm said Tuesday at Truist Park. “And stopped trying to be so robotic. I feel like I got caught up in mechanics. That’s kind of the easiest thing to run to when you don’t see the numbers that you want. ‘Well, what’s wrong?’ There’s nothing really wrong. I was just getting pretty robotic and thinking a lot. … I wasn’t keeping it as simple as I could have. I went down there and simplified things, relaxed in the box.”
The 25-year-old’s regression in 2021 was stunning. Nobody could have expected Bohm to hit .338 over a 162 game season, but the Phillies counted on him to provide middle-of-the-order production at best.
The first two months of the 2021 season were brutal for the 2020 NL Rookie of the Year runner up. He slashed .203/.249/.302 with four home runs and 24 RBIs. Bohm improved from an offensive standpoint from June to August, but he fell out of favor and ended up spending much of August on the bench. He was sent down to Triple-A on Aug. 22 to make room for Rhys Hoskins on the active roster.
Bohm, who had four extra-base hits with the IronPigs over the weekend in Buffalo, swung the bat well in Triple-A. His time with Lehigh Valley was interrupted due to a hand injury, but in 65 plate appearances, Bohm slashed .268/.354/.411.
“What I gained out of it is now I know I can always get back,” Bohm. “I got sent down, I went down there, got to work, got myself back. I think there’s a little bit of relief here knowing that I can play here.”
Bohm should be a part of the Phillies plans next year. It’s unclear if he’ll be penciled in as the starting third baseman again. He posted a -11 defensive runs saved in 2021. He played mostly third baseman in Lehigh Valley and feels like he has improved on that end.
“I think it’s kind of the same thing too. Relax in the box and relax out there, not being tense and just kind of playing free and easy,” Bohm said.
The Phillies haven’t approached Bohm about the possibility of playing another position. Hoskins is the team’s starting first baseman going forward. The team might look elsewhere to improve their defense at the hot corner. Bohm’s speed and arm makes him a fit to play a corner outfield position. Starting left fielder Andrew McCutchen is set to become a free agent after the 2021 season. The team has multiple holes in the lineup and bullpen and not all of them can be filled through free agency.
Bohm hasn’t put too much thought into 2022 and what’s in store from him. For now, he’s glad to be back with the big league club and hopes to contribute down the stretch.
“I’ve never really lost faith in who I was and what I’m capable of,” Bohm said. “I wasn’t necessarily worried about anything. It’s just kind of relaxing and getting back to that comfortable, easy swing. Not trying to hard, not trying to do too much. Just letting the game come to me.”
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