We don’t know how long the offensive production will last. It may very well peter out, an unforeseen flash in the pan, predicated on nothing more than capitalizing on breaking balls that didn’t break and change-ups that didn’t change.
We also don’t know how long the defense will last – the recent flashes of above average natural fielding ability, replete with smooth glove work, quick feet, and accurate throws.
We do know one thing, however, about Alec Bohm’s last few weeks of play. His confidence – once shattered after a 3 error performance in the field – is creeping its way back into his game. You saw it last night – in the late innings of a 6-10 blowout loss on ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball to the New York Mets. Bohm made one smooth play after another, the beginnings of a grin seeping into the crevices of his face despite the Phillies’ impending defeat. Baseball is an individualized a game as any team sport, however, and Bohm’s confidence in the face of defeat is understandable.
After all, it was a far cry from the face we’d grown accustomed to seeing. The face, that for the soft-spoken, understated 3rd baseman has so often been painted in anguish, so often looked as if it bore the weight of this organization’s last decade of futility on it alone.
That’s because, in a way, it did. The pressure Bohm faced and will continue to face is almost inconceivable. The Phillies NEED him to work, to be good, to be an above average, borderline All-Star, franchise cornerstone at 3rd base – the second hardest and easily the most nerve wracking position in the infield. For if Bohm is to fail, all of this franchise’s futility falls upon his broken shoulders, whether or not he’s deserving of the blame. If he fails, Bohm will be the poster child of a bad run of top draft picks – Scott Kingery, Adam Haseley, Cornelius Randolph, Mickey Moniak – to name a few in recent history.
If Bohm continues to succeed however, he not only can right his own ship, but he can change the narrative on the franchise’s ability to develop homegrown talent. While in reality his performance has no impact on the development of 2020 and 2021 first round pitchers Mick Abel and Andrew Painter, it does impact the psyche of a fan base that openly admits, “the Phillies cannot draft and develop homegrown talent.” Bohm’s success paves the way for Abel, Painter, Bryson Stott and even former bust Mickey Moniak – no longer will they be pushing against this invisible wave of futility.
A culture change is imminent in the Phillies organization, bubbling up from the depths of the minor leagues and spilling ever so slightly out of the big league dugout. It’s staying power, on which rides the success of the Phillies young future, is dependent on none other than Alec Bohm.
Featured Image: Bill Streicher/ USA Today Sports