In a rather disappointing season for the Phillies, no spot on the team was brighter than the performance of 3B Alec Bohm. He was easily the best rookie position player in all of baseball during the 2020 season. On Monday, however, the BBWAA gave the 2020 Rookie of the Year award to Milwaukee’s Devin Williams, who finished the season with a 0.33 ERA and an incredible 17.7 K/9 rate. He finished ahead of Bohm and San Diego’s Jake Cronenworth for the honors, who actually tied in overall votes at 74.
Williams put together an amazing season and certainly had an argument for the win, but Bohm’s season was too good not to get awarded for it. Here’s my plea to the MLB to make two awards: one for pitchers and one for hitters. It is too hard to compare each groups.
William’s season was certainly better than Cronenworth’s, who was praised for his defensive versatility. I’ll be frank, but Cronenworth played 303.1 innings at second base, 78.0 at first base, and 47.0 at shortstop. He had a .914 fielding percentage at shortstop. Playing a bad shortstop shouldn’t add to your defensively versatility. Taking shortstop out of the equation, Bohm’s versatility becomes arguably more important, as third base is more important defensively than second. That’s a fact.
And we haven’t even begun to talk about the offensive numbers he put up this season.
After not standing out in summer training events, Bohm started the first weeks of the season down at the satellite camp in Lehigh Valley. On August 13th, when the Phillies placed Adam Haseley on the 10-day IL, Bohm got the call to the Big League roster. From his first day on the roster until the last day of the season, all Bohm did was hit.
And hit. And hit.
I wrote an article earlier this year about Bohm being deserved of the ROY award, and I still stand by that argument. In 44 games as a rookie, Bohm slashed an incredible .338/.400/.481 with 4 HRs and 23 RBIs. While he did regress some on both the strikeout and walk percentages from his minor league averages, he still had very good numbers in both K% (20.0%) and BB% (8.9%). He was arguably the engine of the team in the month of September, hitting .367 and finishing with 40 hits for the month. He was fifth and second amongst all hitters in the league in those respective categories for the month.
The above stats weren’t hollow either, as Bohm was arguably the most clutch hitter in the entire league this season. Bohm led all MLB hitters with a .452 batting average with runners in scoring position, having 19 hits in those situations in 2020. His on-base percentage with runners in scoring position was .519, which was good enough for third behind two other NL East stars in Freddie Freeman and Juan Soto. Clearly, Bohm was putting in work when his team needed him the most.
While he will probably never be a Gold Glove third baseman, he steadily improved his defense there all season. His footwork has improved tenfold since being drafted due to his tenacious work ethic. I do still believe that he’ll eventually have to move across the diamond to first, but you should never count out a kid who works as hard as Bohm does. It’s definitely going to be an uphill battle for the 6’5 kid from Omaha, especially as he begins to fill his frame out with more muscle, to remain at third for his entire career, but he’s definitely trending in the right direction.
In a conversation with Harold Reynolds and Matt Vasgersian of MLB Network’s Hot Stove earlier in the day Monday, manager Joe Girardi was very vocal about who he thought was most deserving of the award.
“I think he’s (Bohm) the guy. Of course, I’m partial,” Girardi said to the two hosts. “The clutch, the game-winning RBIs, his performance with runners in scoring position. To hit .338 as a rookie with the pitching you face in the NL East is not easy.”
That is glowing praise for the Phillies young budding star, and it truly shows the confidence that Girardi and the rest of the Phillies organization have in this young man. Seeing Bohm develop into a legitimate middle-of-the-order bat this season was a good part to come of the 2020 MLB season. Even if it was the only good thing to come out of this otherwise crazy year, Phillies fans should be excited for Bohm’s future in the MLB.
If he can keep up this type of hitting prowess, he is going to be here for a very, very long time. While he couldn’t bring the award home to Philadelphia for the first time since Ryan Howard in 2005, Bohm showed the potential to be a foundational piece for the next competitive Phillies team
This will be the only time that I ever say this, but I do think it is worth mentioning — Thanks, Matt Klentak.
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