Swing changes, not concussion, may have Bohm on the shelf.
I took to Twitter to defend Alec Bohm back in August. He was slashing about .315/.383/.414 since June 1, but had been tailing off batting only .217 in August. And, he seemed to be taking his struggles out onto the field. Never the perfect guy at the hot corner, he always put in the maximum work. However, bad days at the plate and bad days in the field seemed to go hand-in-hand. There was a call to sent Alec town to Triple-A, and despite my dedicated affinity for the IronPigs and Triple-A in general, I disagreed:
I thought that he needed the playing time, yes, but that this time he needed to work it out on the big-league stage, despite the Phillies playoff aspirations. He found success initially in short debut last season, but were other teams figuring him out? Was he tapping into enough of his potential power stroke? So often we’d seen him, with a natural inside-out swing, optimized for contact, blister a ball right back through the box for a hit. This season, in the Majors, there was also a guy standing right there in the middle to catch the ball without moving. And what of fastballs out over the plate? Was he able to take advantage of those? That’s why I mentioned changing his swing in the tweet above.
On Sunday, August 29, Bohm took several pitches up and in–including one that seemed to get him in the helmet/neck/ear. He stayed in the game, but was later lifted while a benches-clearing brawl ensued the following inning. There was no note of injury following the game or into the next week, but we did notice on Tuesday that he was missing from the starting lineup. Reports that day were, “getting the day off.” With rain washing out Wednesday, it was easy to miss Bohm’s absence on Thursday coming back from the off-day. But it was notable Friday night, when we started to think back to the HBP at-bats. Could the concussion protocol be in play here? It can be an unpredictable timeline, which could explain why he’s not on the Injured List.
A source close to the Phillies has revealed that they are indeed working on his swing, for now outside the game environment, and that he’s not injured. While you can say that the minor league games don’t matter anyway, there is the competitive nature, as well as the potential book that every pitcher should pitch him up and in. No need to take any more blows to the head while cleaning up the mechanics.
Now for the disclaimers: Sometimes more than one thing can be true. There can be a “whisper down the line” issue with back-channel communications. And, I don’t have media access following the events of 8/23/2020–confirmation is difficult. So stay tuned. Watch to see when Bohm gets back in the lineup. Is he willing to hit to the pull-side? How does he look in a hitters count when he knows a fastball is coming? Is this just a tweak in his mechanics or a full-blown swing change?
All things to watch in the dog days of…September?
See you at the park,