Philadelphia Phillies: Alec Bohm’s bat has become undeniable

(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /

If Alec Bohm was even an average defender, he’d be a locked-in-stone mainstay of the Philadelphia Phillies‘ starting lineup.

… unfortunately, that really isn’t the case.

Now sure, technically, third base isn’t the most demanding defensive position in the game of baseball. Center field, shortstop, second base, and even catcher require more consistent effort and athletic pedigree, but when a third baseman is called for not one, not two, but three errors in a single game, it’s hard to justify keeping them in over a more competent fielder with a quieter bat.

But therein lies the problem; Alec Bohm’s bat is loud as heck, and he’s already turned in multiple game-winning performances for the Philadelphia Phillies this spring. For a team that has largely underwhelmed versus their sky-high offensive potential, hiding their liveliest bat on the bench is an equation that just isn’t tenable moving forward.

Alec Bohm is still a net positive player for the Philadelphia Phillies.

When Alec Bohm took the plate at the bottom of the eighth in the Philadelphia Phillies’ first game of the season against the Milwaukee Brewers, Citizens Bank Park was a powder keg.

After watching their hometown team muster just one run in the first seven innings, Phillies fans finally watched Joe Girardi’s squad get some consistent offense on the diamond via a trio of singles by Bryce Harper – who scored the first run of the game with a double to center field – Nick Castellanos, and J.T. Realmuto. While Kyle Schwarber wasn’t able to capitalize on his situation, marking his second-straight strikeout in as many at-bats, the “Boms” of Bohm’s walkup music rang through the stadium, and the third year, ex-third overall pick from Wichita State University took the plate in a perfect situation to capitalize on his teammates’ good fortune.

And capitalize on it he did.

Facing off against Aaron Ashby, Bohm took two balls early before earning a strike swinging and a strike looking on two-straight 94 mph four-seamers to bring the court to an even 2-2. Cued up with the very same pitch by Ashby, Bohm smashed the ball to deep right field and picked up two more RBIs to bring his season total to nine. While the Phillies were able to muster one more run on their very next at-bat thanks to a first-pitch single by Johan Camargo, it didn’t particularly matter, as the Brewers didn’t get a man on base during the game’s final inning, and the Phillies left a mildly stressful evening with another notch in their win column.

Does Bohm’s fielding cause problems? Sometimes it certainly does; there are situations where subbing him out of a tight game is unquestionably the right call, especially if it’s the top of the ninth and he just batted at the end of the eight, but playing him like a rotational specialist instead of a bona fide starter with some areas of concern just isn’t it, especially since he will never improve as a fielder stuck on the bench.

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Much like the Philadelphia Phillies as a whole, Alec Bohm is a work in progress. There are games where he looks elite, games where he looks good, and games where he has looked borderline unplayable. But to reach the team’s fullest potential, Bohm has to be in the Phillies’ lineup, not on the bench, as his bat is just too valuable to buoy along without a commitment one way or another.