Since the inception of the Major League Rookie of the Year award in 1947, the Philadelphia Phillies have had 4 players receive said honor. Jack Sanford was the first in 1957 thanks to a 19-8 record and a 3.08 ERA.
The second just had his number retired by the Phillies. In 1964, Dick Allen had a .939 OPS while leading the league in total bases. On top of the RotY award, he finished 7th in MVP voting.
A second third baseman would win the award in 1997. An .846 OPS and solid defense gave Scott Rolen a 4.5 bWAR, leading all rookies in that category.
Power beat out speed for RotY in 2005 when Ryan Howard beat Willy Taveras for the award. His 41 extra-base hits in just 88 games previewed his strength to the rest of the league.
Now, another third baseman should follow in these players’ footsteps. Alec Bohm has been nothing short of fantastic in the abbreviated 2020 season. His .338 batting average was not only stellar but also historic. Only 2 RotYs have hit .338 or higher in their rookie season.
One is a Hall of Famer and the other is a no-doubt Hall of Famer in 4 years. In 1959, Willie McCovey hit .354 in just 52 games. In 2001, Ichiro Suzuki hit .350, winning the AL MVP as well. No other RotY has had a higher batting average than Alec Bohm.
In the National League, only 2 players out-hit Bohm. Juan Soto hit .351 and Freddie Freeman, who might win MVP, hit .341. Only DJ LeMahieu’s .364 batting average surpasses Bohm’s .338 in the American League.
Bohm would appear to have 3 contenders for the National League RotY. Tony Gonsolin posted a 2.31 ERA as (primarily) a starter for the LA Dodgers. Devin Williams gave up a single run in 27 IP for the Brewers. Jake Cronenworth posted an .831 OPS as a member of “Slam Deigo”.
A 0.33 ERA might be the most astounding stat from any of these players. It would be no surprise if Williams’ 17.7 K/9 would also sway voters. He would be only the second NL RotY to be a reliever this millennium, the other being Craig Kimbrel. What might hold him back is the fact that no pitcher has ever won RotY without starting a game or recording a save.
Cronenworth was the favorite to win the award for a hot minute, but he hit a bump in the road towards the end of the season. He hit just .129 in his last 10 games. Before his slump, he was hitting .328 on the season. His triple slash finished at a .285/.354/.477. Bohm’s triple slash of .338/.400/.481 beats Cronenworth in every category.
Unless the voters choose a set-up-man (which has never happened before), Alec Bohm is the easy choice for NL RotY, providing a silver lining in a cloudy end to the Phillies and their bumpy 2020 campaign.
Photo by Gregory Fisher/Icon Sportswire