Alec Bohm emerged this season as a key piece of the Phillies' future, but it was not enough to be the National League’s rookie of the year.
Bohm finished tied for second with San Diego’s Jake Cronenworth. Milwaukee reliever Devin Williams became the first pitcher to win the award without a win or a save. Bohm was trying to become the first Phillie to win rookie of the year since Ryan Howard in 2005. Scott Rolen (1997), Dick Allen (1964), and Jack Sanford (1957) are the other Phillies to win it.
Williams, the National League’s reliever of the year, allowed just one run in 22 appearances, and his 0.33 ERA is the lowest ever by a rookie pitcher who logged at least 25 innings. He struck out 53 batters in 27 innings and posted a 0.63 WHIP.
Bohm reached the majors in August and hit .338 with an .881 OPS in 180 plate appearances. Among rookies with at least 165 plate appearances, Bohm had the highest average, on-base percentage, and slugging percentage. He led National League rookies in hits, multi-hit games, and RBIs.
His .452 average with runners in scoring position was the best in baseball among all hitters with at least 35 chances. Since 1961, Bohm’s .519 on-base percentage with runners in scoring position is tied for the third-best among rookies.
“He did it in an awful tough pitching division,” Phillies manager Joe Girardi said Monday morning on MLB Network. “When you think about the starters in the NL East, I think this guy is rookie of the year. And of course, I’m partial.”
Cronenworth, a seventh-round pick by the Rays in 2015 who was traded to San Diego before last season, hit .285 with a .831 OPS in 192 plate appearances. He played three positions — first base, second base, and shortstop — and had the highest WAR (1.4) among all NL rookies who played at least 25 games.
Cronenworth hit .356 with a 1.034 OPS in his first 112 plate appearances, but he faded down the stretch and hit just .183 with a .543 OPS in September. While Cronenworth faded, Bohm racked up the second-highest hits total (40) in the season’s final month.
As the Phillies enter a crucial offseason, they can take solace in knowing that Bohm — even without an award — will play a role for them in 2021. There have been questions, ever since the Phillies drafted him third overall in 2018, about Bohm’s ability to play third base. He held his own there this season, along with spending time at first base, all while being one of the team’s most consistent hitters. In a disappointing season, the emergence of Bohm was a positive.