Phillies

Alec Bohm making a case for Rookie of the Year with these clutch knocks

Phillies
  • Updated, 7:30 p.m.

Rookie third baseman Alec Bohm drew praise two nights in a row from Phillies veterans late last week.

Last Thursday night, it was Bryce Harper referring to Bohm as a potential future MVP. Friday night, Jake Arrieta commended Bohm’s defense and quick adjustment to the major leagues.

That was last week. This week, Bohm's been even bigger for the Phils.

On Monday, Bohm tied a game in the eighth inning that the Phillies went on to win against the Mets, 9-8 in extras.

On Tuesday, Bohm hit a walk-off two-run single to beat the Red Sox a few hours after giving the Phillies a three-run lead with a two-run single.

He is 11 for 23 (.478) with runners in scoring position.

Bohm has been mostly clean defensively since a shaky game in Atlanta on August 21. His only error since was a missed catch on a rundown that was equally Didi Gregorius' fault.

The defense is a huge component of Bohm's future with the Phillies because his bat should be good enough to stick in a run-producing lineup spot. If the Phils can keep him at third base rather than move him across the diamond or use him as the DH, so much more lineup and roster flexibility is created.

Bohm enters the second game of Tuesday's doubleheader hitting .298 with five doubles, two homers and 15 RBI in 93 plate appearances. He’s been one of the National League’s best rookies, but if the season ended today he’d probably trail Padres second baseman Jake Cronenworth and Dodgers starting pitcher Dustin May in Rookie of the Year voting.

 

Cronenworth was an unheralded offseason pickup for San Diego, acquired from Tampa Bay with Tommy Pham in exchange for Hunter Renfroe. The Padres won that trade.

Cronenworth, 26, has hit .325 with a .939 OPS and has been an extra-base hit machine with 11 doubles, three triples and four home runs. He’s the frontrunner for NL Rookie of the Year with 2½ weeks to play.

May has been consistently sharp for the 30-12 Dodgers. He has a 2.88 ERA, a 1.11 WHIP and some of the nastiest stuff in the league. He's allowed one or two runs in all eight starts.

Sixto Sanchez has had three eye-popping outings to begin his career. He has a 2.37 ERA with 19 strikeouts and one walk. He could vault up the list with dominance in his remaining four or five starts.

The Mets’ David Peterson led all NL rookie pitchers in WAR before an ugly outing against the Phillies on Labor Day.

Whether or not Bohm wins Rookie of the Year, he looks like the real deal at the plate. His early success has not been fueled by an unsustainable rate of home runs like Domonic Brown or Rhys Hoskins. Bohm has been productive with a consistent line drive approach — hard-hit singles up the middle, doubles to left-center and right-center. He is aggressive but has also shown selectivity, and his size helps him cover most areas of the plate.

He looks like the kind of player you can confidently bat fifth or sixth for a long time, with upside higher than that.