Phillies

How the last few weeks changed NL Rookie of the Year picture

Phillies

Alec Bohm chased Padres infielder Jake Cronenworth for much of the summer in the National League Rookie of the Year race, but with the dust settled after Game 60, Bohm's stiffest competition appears to be three pitchers.

Cronenworth tailed off at the end, going 4 for his last 35 to finish the season batting .285/.354/.477 with 22 extra-base hits and 20 RBI in 192 plate appearances.

Bohm hit .338/.400/.481 with 15 extra-base hits and 23 RBI in 180 plate appearances.

Offensively, it's not even close. Bohm has 53 points on Cronenworth in batting average and 50 points in OPS. Bohm made a bigger impact on the Phillies' offense than Cronenworth made on San Diego's. The Padres were the clearly superior team, but this is Rookie of the Year we're talking about, not MVP.

Bohm fell just six plate appearances shy of qualifying for the batting title. His .338 batting average would have ranked fourth in the majors, behind D.J. LeMahieu, Juan Soto and Freddie Freeman.

The three rookie pitchers solidly in the conversation with Bohm are Brewers reliever Devin Williams and Dodgers starters Dustin May and Tony Gonsolin.

Williams, 26, allowed one run in 27 innings for a 0.33 ERA and 0.63 WHIP. He faced 100 batters and struck out 53. Only 18 reached base. 

The former second-round pick was considerably more effective than Josh Hader and was a major reason the Brewers snuck into the playoffs despite not spending a day all season over .500.

The two Dodgers pitchers were good from start to finish. May, who started for L.A. on opening day, had a 2.57 ERA and 1.09 WHIP in 56 innings. He did not allow more than two earned runs in any game.

 

Gonsolin had a 2.31 ERA and 0.84 WHIP in 46⅔ innings. He started his season with 16⅔ straight scoreless innings.

Nationally, Bohm is not getting much Rookie of the Year love from folks predicting awards. Some of it has to with his defense. He was worth minus-5 Defensive Runs Saved, according to Sports Info Solutions. He has negative defensive grades at both Baseball-Reference and Fangraphs. 

Watching Bohm every day, he was not an above-average defender at third base but he made almost all of the routine plays and his throws were on the money. With his bat, the Phillies will take that. Over the course of a 162-game season, his defensive issues could be more glaring. There were some ugly moments with Bohm at the hot corner but he was not a disaster, and the offense certainly outweighed the defense.

Stats could be more of a determinant than usual in 2020 Rookie of the Year voting because writers covering teams in other divisions simply didn't get to see a lot of these players. If you cover the Phillies, you saw none of Cronenworth, May or Gonsolin unless you paid for the MLB package.

The same goes for writers out West who probably saw little of Bohm. They'll notice his .452 batting average with runners in scoring position, but will they know about his plate coverage, his use of all fields or the quality of his contact and his at-bats?

At the end of the day, .338 is .338. Bohm did more than enough to win this award.