PHILADELPHIA — Alec Bohm began Saturday with a .400 batting average since July 1.
The Phillies third baseman hit four home runs and knocked in 17 runs during that stretch.
He was scheduled to bat third in the lineup as the Phillies hosted the Washington Nationals on Saturday night.
All that from a player who knocked in just 13 runs in May and June combined, and last season posted the unimpressive batting average/on-base percentage/slugging percentage slash line of .247/.305/.342.
It’s no coincidence the Phillies started Saturday 10 games over .500 compared to being just four over July 1.
“Simplicity,” Bohm told MLB.com when asked last weekend about his recent success. “I’m not trying to do too much, I guess. When I’m getting the ball over the plate, I’m swinging at it. I’ve got my swing working right, and I’m on time more often than not.”
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But Bohm’s resurgence is also a testament to patience, something organizations and fans sometimes have too little of these days. People should remember what Bohm has gone through when looking at other struggling young players.
It would have been easy for the Phillies to label him as a bust after last season and his slow start to 2022.
“For any player, most players anyway, the transition from the minor leagues to the big leagues is tough,” manager Rob Thomson said Friday. “There’s adjustment periods. It takes a while. You come up. The other team doesn’t know who you are. You might have success, but then they start making adjustments. You have to learn how to make adjustments back. He’s learned how to do that.”
The Phillies drafted Bohm with the No. 3 overall pick in the first round of the 2018 draft. He showed promise as a rookie in the COVID-19-shortened 2020 season, batting .338 with a .400 on-base percentage.
What the right-handed Bohm has done this season is begin to pull the ball more for home runs and extra base hits. Six of his eight home runs this season are to left-center or left field. In his first two seasons, only 3 of his 11 home runs were pulled to left field.
Bohm pulled a three-run home run over the left field fence to propel the Phillies to a 5-4 win over Washington on Thursday.
“He’s always been so good at using the right side of the field,” first baseman Rhys Hoskins said of Bohm. “But’s he pulling the ball correctly (now). You can see it. He’s back spinning the baseball to left field. That just makes him so much more dangerous. As soon as he steps in the box, if a pitcher knows (Bohm is) liable to do some damage with his hitting prowess, he’s going to get pitches to hit, and he’s not missing them right now.”
Of course, no discussion of Bohm would be complete without an assessment of his fielding. No Phillies fan will forget him making three errors against the New York Mets on April 11 and being caught on video saying, “I (expletive) hate this place.”
But Thomson said Bohm now looks confident at the plate and in the field.
A sign of that came in Friday’s 7-2 win over the Nationals. Phillies starting pitcher Kyle Gibson did not allow a base runner for the first six innings. With two outs in the top of the sixth, Nationals hitter Ildemaro Vargas lined a ground ball 91 mph down the third base line. Bohm dove, back-handed the ball, scrambled to his feet and threw Vargas out at first base.
Plays like that are starting to become more commonplace for Bohm.
“We just keep telling him whatever you’re doing keep doing it, please,” Hoskins said “Don’t stop it.”