by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
After a monster 2017 debut (.259 with 18 HR and 48 RBI over 50 games) fantasy owners had high expectations for Rhys Hoskins’ 2018 campaign. While he wasn’t completely useless, it’s easy to dub him as a disappointment as he fell well short of expectations. Just how far short? Let’s look at the numbers:
558 At Bats
.246 Batting Average (137 Hits)
34 Home Runs
5 Stolen Bases
.354 On Base Percentage
.496 Slugging Percentage
.272 Batting Average on Balls in Play
It wasn’t a poor approach that had a negative influence. In fact for a power hitter his underlying numbers are impressive, with a 7.9% SwStr% and 22.8% O-Swing%, and you can argue that he has more upside than his 22.7% strikeout rate and 13.2% walk rate. So what caused the “disappointing” campaign? There are two key numbers:
- Fly Ball Rate – 51.7%
- Pull Rate – 50.0%
Clearly Hoskins was trying to hit the ball out of the ballpark, which alone is going to make him susceptible to a lower BABIP. The inflated Pull% makes him susceptible to the shift, especially considering his 18.9% Oppo%, and that too will make it more difficult for him to post an elevated BABIP. A strong strikeout rate or an elevated Hard% (which wasn’t the case, given a 34.5% Hard%) aren’t enough to significantly improve upon his overall performance from 2017 given the other numbers.
That leads to the bigger question, is 2018 the “norm” or was it more anomaly?
The Pull% tied him for the second highest mark in the league (tied with Jose Ramirez, behind only Andrelton Simmons and his 51.0%). It was consistent all season (49.1% in the first half, 51.0% in the second) and also is in line with what he did during his 2017 debut when he had a 49.2% mark. It’s a number that we have to believe, and it’s obviously going to have a negative impact on his average upside.
As for the fly ball rate, he was at 50.0% or higher in five of six months in 2018. That’s a significant increase from his 2017 debut, when he posted a 45.2% fly ball rate, though it’s closer to his Triple-A mark (48.6%).
Again, we need to have a realistic outlook to his average and these two numbers are going to combine for a less than desirable mark. His ability to draw a walk is going to help make him more valuable to those in OBP formats and there is no questioning his power (though no one should’ve expected him to come close to his ’17 pace. His HR/FB did rise in the second half (12.8% to 19.2%), when he set a 40+ HR pace (20 HR over 249 AB). That’s a number he can maintain, and while power is up across the game it also can’t be ignored and will help keep his average as at least usable.
That all comes together for the following projection:
.263 (151-575), 39 HR, 105 RBI, 90 R, 6 SB, .275 BABIP, .361 OBP, .527 SLG
To be a truly elite player you need to be in the .290+ range for average, something we can’t expect from Hoskins. What in the other numbers would you complain about? Let others be discouraged coming off 2018 and grab him at a discount. In the end, you shouldn’t be disappointed from what should be a solid three category performance.
Source – Fangraphs
Make sure to check out all of our 2019 projections: