Is Rhys Hoskins The Phillies Future At First Base?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

The Phillies are clearly a team in transition and while Tommy Joseph is currently getting an opportunity at first base in the Majors it’s possible that he’s not really the answer. Down at Double-A they have a 23-year old slugger, Rhys Hoskins, who is slugging and grabbing attention (through Saturday):

335 AB, .287, 25 HR, 83 RBI, 64 R, 2 SB

Obviously the big tool is his power, which he showed promise with last season (36 doubles, 6 triples, 17 HR) across two levels of Single-A. This year, however, he’s fully seems to have tapped into it. According to MLB.com in regards to his power:

“A leg kick that he added to his right-handed swing helped him reach that power more consistently, and he continued to be a run-producer during his stint in the Australian Baseball League over the winter. His feel to hit should allow him to continue to produce as he reaches the upper levels.”

The 6’4″, 225 lbs. fifth round pick (2014) exploded in June with 13 HR, though he has shown a jump in strikeouts this season (23.6%). That’s something we are going to have to watch closely, especially as when he moves up to Triple-A. His power would allow him to hit for a decent average, though any type of drop would lead to a significant regression:

  • April – 4 HR, .260 AVG
  • May – 5 HR, .248 AVG

That’s going to be what could ultimately hold him back, because we obviously can’t expect him to hit 13 HR in a month very often. He has added 21 doubles, so it’s obvious that the power is for real, but it’s hard to dub him a can’t miss player.

The strikeouts are something to watch, but if he can keep those in check playing in Philadelphia will certainly help. The upside is there to be a .260ish hitter with 20-25 HR, though time will tell.

Current Grade – C+

Sources – Fangraphs, MILB.com

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