Alec Bohm will enter play Saturday hitting .290 with a .721 OPS. When you compare the 25-year-old’s offensive production with what he did in a disappointing 2021 season, the Philadelphia Phillies have to be encouraged that Bohm is consistently putting the ball on the bat again.
Still, it feels like there’s another offensive level for Bohm to reach, one that features him driving the ball more consistently — sometimes into the gaps, and other times into the stands. Maybe even both on occasion.
No one is suggesting that Bohm become a three-true outcome player. Hitting singles is good, and Bohm does that really well. At the same time, he’s 6-foot-5, 218 pounds. The average distance of the 13 career home runs that Bohm has is 398 feet. This isn’t trying to fit a square peg in a round hole; 25-30 home run power is in there for Bohm, it just needs to be unlocked.
And yet, Bohm has just two home runs in 124 at-bats this season. Of his 36 hits in 2022, just eight have been of the extra-base variety. The former No. 3 overall pick hasn’t homered at all in May, with his last round-tripper coming on April 28.
Given that he’s pretty consistently made hard contact in 2022, how far away do the Phillies think he is from some of these singles turning into extra-base hits?
“I wish I had a crystal ball, right? You know, the big thing is that he had good at-bats,” Joe Girardi said before Saturday evening’s game. “I think you can get caught up with trying to hit home runs, and that probably hurts you, right? So just continue to hit the ball hard, and things will take care of themselves.”
But the Phillies do think that Bohm is going to rack up more extra-base hits as he develops, right?
“Oh, I definitely think so,” Girardi said. “I mean, 20 years ago the ball down the right field line [Bohm’s eighth inning lineout to Mookie Betts Friday] is a base hit. It’s a double, probably not a triple, but probably a double. It’s just that defensively, we [baseball as a whole] got really good about positioning ourselves.”
Make no mistake, none of this is conversation is being had with the intention of trying to scapegoat Bohm for the Phillies scoring just four runs in their last four games. Bryce Harper, the reigning National League MVP, has been out after receiving a PRP injection in his throwing elbow. J.T. Realmuto, Kyle Schwarber and Rhys Hoskins have each been disappointing so far this season. After a strong April, Nick Castellanos is hitting only .219 in May. There have been a lot of issues with the Phillies’ offense so far, and Bohm isn’t close to the top of the list.
But you see flashes with Bohm that make you think he’s capable of carrying your lineup during periods where others are struggling. Part of that means recording more extra-base hits. For Bohm to reach his full offensive potential, there’s still another level that he and the Phillies need to get to.
Harper Back, Gregorius Still Working
- Six days after he received a PRP injection in his throwing elbow, Harper is back in the lineup for Saturday evening’s game against the Los Angeles Dodgers. Joe Girardi joked before the game that the only limitation for Harper continues to be that he can’t throw.
- Didi Gregorius took some swings and ground balls Saturday afternoon. Girardi said that Gregorius feels his left knee sprain more in his swing than anything else. The 32-year-old will probably have to go on a rehab stint before he returns to the lineup for the Phillies, but there isn’t yet a timetable for when that will take place.
Phillies Wearing Camo
The Phillies will continue to wear camouflage Saturday, as they celebrate Armed Forces Day:
The Dodgers are also wearing the camouflage hats, with some players on both teams wearing camo socks. The uncomfortable reality here is that these hats simply don’t match even a little bit with the uniforms. The sentiment behind the weekend is nice, but it only really works for teams like the San Diego Padres, who have a regular uniform that pays homage to the service of those in the military.
The flip side of that is that the Phillies are one of the few teams — along with the Washington Nationals, St. Louis Cardinals etc. — that can pull off red, white and blue hats on Fourth of July weekend. A year ago, the Padres were in Philadelphia for Fourth of July weekend and wore red hats with a red, white and blue “SD” logo while continuing to wear their sand brown road alternate uniforms. The people in San Diego probably love apple pie and fireworks, but that doesn’t mean that a red hat looks good with their uniforms:
Ultimately, MLB is going to continue to have each team wear these specialty hats for Armed Forces weekend and Fourth of July because it’s free advertising. Even though many of the hats don’t match the uniforms that they are worn with, a fan watching the game may think that hat will look good with their typical clothing.
In addition to his camouflage catching gear, Realmuto also had a black Phillies helmet underneath his catcher’s mask, rather than the typical red one:
The first instinct here was that this may be a leftover helmet from the monochromatic Player’s Weekend uniforms sported in August of 2019. However, that helmet had a silver P, and it wasn’t lifted:
Before Saturday’s game, I asked Realmuto and he said that the Phillies produced it to match his camo catching gear.
“Pretty sweet, isn’t it?”
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