June 24, 2024

Since Alec Bohm was drafted by the Phillies with the third overall pick in 2018, there has been a sense that he possesses the potential for greatness. The Phillies scouted him extensively at Wichita State and were impressed by his disciplined approach at the plate, even as he added power to his game. With his tall, strong physique, he seemed like a player who could blend patience with power.

Now, in his fifth season with the Phillies, Bohm seems to have found his stride. Currently batting .365/.441/.615, he is undoubtedly one of the hottest hitters in baseball. Is he finally taking the next step in his development?

Best Thing: Alec Bohm is Up for Rookie of the Year!

“It’s possible,” remarked Phillies manager Rob Thomson last week. “Or he could just be on a hot streak right now. Who knows?” Thomson wasn’t casting doubt on Bohm’s abilities; rather, he recognizes that one outstanding month does not define an entire season. Nonetheless, the Phillies have long envisioned this version of Bohm, and the prospect is certainly tantalizing. Bohm appears to be much more comfortable with himself on the field, both offensively and defensively, and his success in April is a testament to his hard work.

But is Bohm’s recent performance sustainable? He’s been pulling the ball more frequently, resulting in increased power. While the Phillies previously tried to instill this approach in him during his time in the minors, it never quite stuck, as Bohm preferred to use the entire field. However, in April, he demonstrated greater selectivity at the plate, swinging at strikes and laying off balls, leading to a significant rise in his walk rate.

While these developments are encouraging, Bohm’s average exit velocity remains consistent with previous seasons. In fact, April has historically been the month with his highest average exit velocity in both 2022 and 2023. As teams adjust to him, Bohm must also adapt quickly to maintain his success.

Nevertheless, Bohm’s improved quality of contact, particularly with more pulled line drives, is undeniable. If he can maintain his selectivity at the plate while continuing to drive pitches effectively, he has the potential to draw walks while still making impactful offensive contributions. Of course, achieving this balance is easier said than done.

“I hope,” Thomson concluded, “he can keep up this level of performance.”

Jeff Hoffman has stepped up as the Phillies’ primary right-handed reliever, a role he earned by the end of last season through consistent performance. However, there’s always uncertainty surrounding relievers, especially those who unexpectedly excel. Can they replicate their success? Despite this skepticism, Hoffman’s performance in the first month of this season closely mirrors his work in 2023, which is significant for the Phillies. They didn’t engage in significant contract extension talks with Hoffman, who becomes a free agent after this season, but they may reconsider later in the summer.

Hoffman has maintained an impressive strikeout rate, ranking 12th among National League relievers, while keeping his walk rate consistent. Although he’s allowed harder contact, he’s been effective at preventing home runs. The Phillies have entrusted Hoffman with more high-leverage situations, pitching him in the ninth inning seven times already this season compared to five times last season. Despite occasional dips in velocity, Hoffman relies heavily on his four-seam fastball, which remains effective even when he misses his spot.

Right-handed hitters continue to struggle against Hoffman, with a batting line of .143/.242/.179 this season. This makes him a valuable asset when facing the opposing team’s top right-handed hitters late in games. The true test will be maintaining this level of performance over the course of the season, but Hoffman’s April showing suggests that his success in 2023 was no fluke.

Ranger Suárez has emerged as a strong contender for National League Pitcher of the Month, utilizing a diverse arsenal of pitches to generate weak contact. He has effectively commanded five different pitches on both sides of the plate, resulting in some of the weakest contact of any pitcher. Suárez’s front-hip sinker to right-handed hitters has been particularly effective, holding them to a .182 batting average with nine strikeouts. Against left-handed hitters, Suárez has increased his usage of the changeup, which has proven to be highly effective regardless of the batter’s handedness. Batters are just 1-for-25 with 10 strikeouts against the changeup.

While Suárez’s success may not be sustainable at its current level, as evidenced by the end of his scoreless innings streak and occasional hard-hit balls, his ability to induce weak contact is a skill he has mastered for now.

Phillies' Alec Bohm Cuts Himself Slamming Bat in Frustration After  Strikeout | News, Scores, Highlights, Stats, and Rumors | Bleacher Report

 

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