March 31, 2022
Spring training is finally in full swing as the Phillies are clearly going to be giving it their best shot to end their now 10-year postseason drought after exceeding baseball's luxury tax for the first time ever. That kind of "stupid money" brings with it high expectations.
For what it's worth, the Phillies are +100 to make the expanded playoff field this fall (via bet online.ag) and their over/under win total is 84.5 (via Caesars).
Before the team hits the field in South Philly to open their 2022 campaign against the Athletics on Friday, April 8, we're going to take a deep dive into each positional group.
Today, it's third base ...
Okay, so as of now, third base is Alec Bohm's job to lose. But this may be a do or die year for the once heralded prospect.
Bohm is entering only his second season as a regular major-leaguer, but with the Phillies full-on into "win now" mode, new signee Nick Castellanos not putting a potential return to third base out of the question, and top prospect Bryson Stott taking reps at the hot corner this spring. The pressure's on.
Bohm appeared in 115 games in 2021, hitting .247 with seven home runs, 15 doubles, 47 RBIs, and a .647 OPS through 417 plate appearances. The 25-year old, who was the third overall pick in the 2018 amateur draft, still carries a ton of promise, but tons of concern too.
He committed 15 errors at third last season, and his struggles, both defensively and at the plate, got so bad that he was sent down to triple A Lehigh Valley for a month to reset his game.
BaseballReference has Bohm projected to hit .265 with 10 home runs and .716 OPS this season. He can definitely come into 2022 new and improved, which would be great for both him and the Phillies, but while it doesn't directly correlate to regular season production, Bohm has struggled this spring.
The team isn't without other options though. Again, Castellanos has experience at third base going back to his days in Detroit, Stott's knocking on the door of his big league debut, and Ronald Torreyes and/or Johan Camargo are going to be available off the bench if the club needs a stopgap.
“Obviously we’re hoping that Alec runs with it, and he has a leg up on everyone,” manager Joe Girardi said earlier this spring. “But this is a performance business. I see him making improvements, and we’re happy with what we see in his work, but yeah, it’s something that’s not etched in stone.”
Save for the Braves' Austin Riley, the division's third baseman are a pretty middling group. Granted, Bohm (or Stott) could change the entire dynamic of that with a breakout 2022.
|Team||Third Baseman (age)||2021 stats||2022 projections||Career War|
|Phillies||Alec Bohm (25)||.247, 7 HR, 47 RBI||.265, 10 HR, 54 RBI||-0.5|
|Braves||Austin Riley (24)||.303, 33 HR, 107 RBI||.278, 27 HR, 89 RBI||5.5|
|Mets||Eduardo Escobar (33)||.253, 28 HR, 90 RBI||.246, 23 HR, 78 RBI||11.8|
|Marlins||Brian Anderson (28)||.249, 7 HR, 28 RBI||.251, 14 HR, 49 RBI||9.1|
|Nationals||Maikel Franco (29)||.210, 11 HR, 47 RBI||.231, 15 HR, 58 RBI||1.7|
It's also nice to see Maikel Franco still going.
This depends highly on whether Bohm breaks out this season or Stott wins the third base job and takes off from there. If Bohm's great, he buys some time, at least another year or two, as the Phillies' answer at the hot corner. If Stott takes over, it becomes a question of when he moves back to his natural position at shortstop, which may not be long with Didi Gregorius' contract up after this season.
Castellanos could split time between third base and the outfield, but he's 30 and was never the greatest glove to begin with.
The Phillies have just one notable third base prospect in the system, 21-year old Kendall Simmons, but he's a very raw talent whose development has been progressing slowly.