In a season when the Phillies retired the number of a third baseman who won the National League Rookie of the Year award 56 years ago, and 23 years after another Phillies third baseman claimed the prize, the team is in the hunt for a trifecta of sorts entering the final weekend of the 2020 season.
Alec Bohm has a very real chance of winning the award. If he does, he would become the team’s fifth rookie of the year, joining Jack Sanford (1957), Dick Allen (1964), Scott Rolen (1997) and Ryan Howard (2005).
Allen and Rolen were both third basemen. Sanford was a pitcher who was traded away in one of worst deals in franchise history. Howard was … well, you know all about the Big Piece.
Bohm, 24, was the Phillies’ first-round draft pick (No. 3 overall) in 2018. He started the season at the Phillies’ auxiliary training site in Lehigh Valley and might have stayed there for the bulk of the season hadn’t second baseman Scott Kingery struggled offensively out of the gate. Looking for more offense, the Phillies called up Bohm on August 13 and shifted Jean Segura to second base.
Bohm has been very impressive in 41 games with the big club. He had a couple of tough games defensively at third base but has also looked good at the position at times. He’s also filled in nicely at first base in place of injured Rhys Hoskins.
At the plate, Bohm has really shined. He started off hitting in the bottom third of the order but has lately moved up into the meat of the order, where he’s continued to shine.
In 26 games this month, with Hoskins out, with J.T. Realmuto missing 11 games and with Bryce Harper battling a bad back that has affected his production, Bohm has stepped up like a veteran and hit .365 with three homers, 15 RBIs and a .947 OPS.
He will look to build on that September performance over the weekend in St. Petersburg, Florida, where the Phillies will try to save their season.
While Bohm has helped keep the Phillies afloat in September, San Diego Padres rookie infielder Jake Cronenworth helped make his club a contender and playoff team with his performance over the first month of the season.
Cronenworth is all ballplayer. He pitched and played the field at the University of Michigan and pitched some (and quite well) for Tampa Bay’s Triple A club last season before being traded to San Diego. With the Padres, he’s played four infield positions and produced in the lineup.
Cronenworth is widely considered the favorite to win the award, but Bohm is gathering steam and seems like a shoo-in to finish in the top 3. The final weekend could help a lot of voters make up their minds.
Here’s a quick look at who we see as the Top 5 candidates for the award, entering play Thursday.
Jake Cronenworth – He leads all NL rookies with a .885 OPS and is second in batting average at .304. His 20 RBIs are second among NL rookies. The Padres showed they meant business right out of the gate this season and from July 26 to August 31, Cronenworth hit .356 with nine doubles, three triples, four homers, 17 RBIs, a .441 on-base percentage and a .624 slugging percentage.
Alec Bohm – Bohm leads the majors, all players, with 35 hits in September and is sixth in batting average at .365 for the month. He is hitting .333 overall, tops among NL rookies. For the season, he leads all NL rookies with 22 RBIs and trails only Cronenworth with a .884 OPS.
Devin Williams – The Milwaukee Brewers reliever has been lights out. Check out these numbers: 21 games, 25 innings, 6 hits, 1 earned run, 9 walks, 52 strikeouts. Amazing. He could win it.
Dustin May – He has taken a regular turn in the rotation for the Los Angeles Dodgers, the best team in the majors, and pitched to a 2.77 ERA, ninth-best in the majors among pitchers with over 50 innings.
Tony Gonsolin – Gonsolin joined the Dodgers rotation in mid-August and has a 1.26 ERA and a .156 opposing batting average in seven starts. Among the late arrivals to the rookie of the year race, he has out-pitched Miami phenom Sixto Sanchez.