The Philadelphia Phillies have not had a player win Rookie of the Year honors since Ryan Howard in 2005. Third baseman Alec Bohm has a chance to change that. Since making his debut on August 13th, Bohm is hitting .318 with an .851 OPS and 3 home runs. He’s been on fire over the last week, hitting .417 over his last seven games. He is among the top 8% of all Major League hitters in hard hit percentage. Bohm’s consistent bat at such a young age of 24 has had a huge impact on the Phillies offense.
How Bohm compares to N.L. Rookies
Bohm’s biggest strength so far in his career is his ability to consistently put the ball in play for base hits. His .318 AVG is second among N.L. rookies with 100 or more at bats. If you lower the qualifier to 50 at bats, Bohm still ranks 5th. He is second in doubles with 9, second in OPS and RBIs with 50 or more at bats, and fourth in walks with the same qualifier. Bohm is second in total hits among all N.L. rookies.
So, you’re probably wondering who exactly is Bohm second to in all of these categories?
That would be Jake Cronenworth of the San Diego Padres, Bohm’s stiffest competition for ROTY honors. The 26-year-old shortstop is ahead of Bohm in average, home runs, walks, doubles, RBIs, and OPS. However, he has appeared in 12 more games than Bohm and as a result has 27 more at bats. Nevertheless, the fact that Cronenworth plays for the Padres will also work against Bohm in the voting. The Padres are challenging the Dodgers for N.L. supremacy and have more eyes on them with MVP candidate Fernando Tatis Jr. making waves.
What other players are in the race?
If Cronenworth is Bohm’s biggest competition offensively, Dustin May and Sixto Sanchez are some of his biggest competition overall. Both are pitchers who are making strong contributions to their team’s winning ways.
May has made nine starts for the reigning N.L. champion Los Angeles Dodgers. The 23-year-old right hander is 1-1 with a 2.81 ERA in 41.2 innings pitched. May has limited opposing hitters to a .234 average and has struck out over 16% of the batters he’s faced while walking a hair under 6%. He has been very consistent for a team who is leading the N.L. in wins and has World Series expectations.
Sixto Sanchez has made a huge splash in a short amount of time for the surprise Miami Marlins. In five starts, Sanchez is 3-1 with a 1.69 ERA and a 0.91 WHIP. He has struck out a whopping 24% of batters he’s faced and held them to a .212 average. The 22-year-old has just 5 walks in 32 innings pitched. The former Phillies top prospect has garnered high praise around the league, including from Hall of Famer Pedro Martinez.
Proud of Sixto Sanchez as he showed today he knows how to navigate through tough situations. He’s like a mini me with better stuff! #sixto— Pedro Martinez (@45PedroMartinez) September 13, 2020
What are Bohm’s chances?
The voting for every award this season is going to be strange. After all, if this was any other year, most of if not all of these finalists would not even be given consideration due to small sample sizes. But, small sample size is the name of the game in 2020 with a 60 game season.
So, it remains to be seen exactly how much of a factor that will play in the voting. If it is a major factor, Cronenworth will most likely win with May a close second. If it isn’t, Bohm and Sanchez have their chances increase, especially Sanchez.
But as for Bohm, he has numbers on pace, and in some cases just behind, Cronenworth in 12 less games. If number of games isn’t as important as years past, it can be argued that Bohm’s season is more impressive than Cronenworth’s because he has done it in less games. The shortened season has forced everyone to adjust the way they look at season numbers. So, why shouldn’t players with numbers on par with leaders while playing less games be given more consideration than usual?
The small sample size concept really hurts the pitchers if it matters, especially Sanchez. Pitchers by nature only play every five days which makes them a hard argument in a normal season for MVP or ROTY awards. It will be an even more difficult argument in a season where they may only play 10 games.
Finish is crucial
Bohm can either give a huge boost to or shatter his chances over the last week and a half of the season. A strong finish can help him tie or overtake Cronenworth in the offensive categories. If he is able to do so despite most likely finishing with less games played, his case becomes just that much stronger. However, a quiet finish will all but put him out of the running.
The real wild card in the race is Sanchez. He can really boost his chances and perhaps jump into the lead with his last two or so starts. Sanchez has the head to head advantage against Bohm, albeit in just one game. Sanchez struck Bohm out twice while allowing him one hit en-route to a complete game against Bohm’s Phillies. As for their teams, the Marlins have owned the Phillies and currently have overtaken them in the standings. Where their teams finish could be a factor if the race comes down to these two.
Bohm has a strong chance, but he is going to need to overtake the rookie offensive rankings to be a real contender. His shaky defense, albeit clean after his start, is another thing working against him. Therefore, those offensive numbers are crucial to Bohm being the first rookie of the year for the Phillies in 15 years.