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May 26, 2021

Is Phillies young 3B Alec Bohm regressing, or is he just unlucky?

Bohm is hitting the ball very hard. It's just going right to the other team.

Phillies MLB
Phillies-Cardinals-Alec-Bohm-Kate-Frese_041721-128.jpg Kate Frese/for PhillyVoice

Phillies third baseman Alec Bohm has a whoopsie.

Alec Bohm became a big-league player in the weirdest of circumstances last year.

As the team's top prospect, and with no minor leagues to hone his skills in during the COVID pandemic, Bohm was called up a few weeks into the shortened 2020 season and, with no fans in the stands and a regional, limited schedule, didn't disappoint, coming extremely close to winning NL Rookie of the Year.

A year later, with the stands across major league ballparks slowly creeping toward full capacity and the schedule back to normal, Bohm has fallen off a cliff both with the bat and with the glove.


No one in Major League Baseball has made more outs at the plate that Bohm this year, with an impressive 156 outs in 193 plate appearances and has the most grounded into double plays by a country mile. He leads all third basemen in games played, and also in errors made. 

Bohm is hitting a dreadful .186 against right-handed pitching, and is almost an automatic out when he is behind in the count, hitting .143 in 57 such instances. He's also just 1-for-35 this season after falling behind 0-2. 

But, despite his 30% strikeout rate, when Bohm hits the ball, he hits it hard. According to MLB Statcast, Bohm has the highest exit velocity of any Phillies hitter at 92.6 mph (the 14th best of every player in the league). His hit hard percentage — which is the frequency he his the ball faster than 95 mph is 49.6% — is second best on the team (behind Rhys Hoskins) and 23rd in MLB.

Overall, he puts the barrel on the bat a respectable 6.2% of the time, the third best on the squad. And his expected batting average is actually .263, more than 50 points higher than his current average. 

But the hits are not coming. The outs are.

"It's frustrating for sure," Bohm said after a recent game. "You go back thinking 'what more could I have done?' For me that's kind of the next step in maturing and becoming a true pro, handling it better. It's something I have tried to focus on lately, not on the number on the scoreboard, but to control what I can control."

Manager Joe Girardi and the Phillies don't seem to have too many reservations about trotting Bohm out to third base day in and day out. There is a belief that his hard hitting will result in more hits as the season progresses, and his terrible decisions at the hot corner will teach him to get better at fielding his position.

Still, the downtick in his offensive production paired with his unreliable defense has made him an early liability for a team struggling to float around the .500 mark with their top three offensive players currently on the IL (Bryce Harper, J.T. Realmuto and Didi Gregorius).

There is nothing Bohm can do about bad luck. The difference in his expected hitting and actual hitting is the eighth biggest gap of any offensive player, and the 24-year-old can only keep swinging the bat and trying to keep his confidence up.

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