Rhys Hoskins Is Making History in Philadelphia
Whenever any Major League team embarks on a rebuild, they hope a few things will happen.
They hope a pitching staff comes together, that at least one or two starters can be identified as long-term pieces. They hope to identify some position players around whom they can build, as well as some young relief pitching that can be used to help out late in games. They also hope to produce at least one or two superstars, like the Chicago Cubs did with Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo, or the Houston Astros with George Springer and Carlos Correa.
For the Philadelphia Phillies, their hope is that the recently called-up Rhys Hoskins is that guy. And thus far, he's not making anyone think he won't be the first superstar player to emerge from Philly's long rebuild.
So, this @RhysHoskins22 thing is getting pretty nuts. #Crushed pic.twitter.com/BRAvmxQuBe
— MLB (@MLB) August 24, 2017
In 134 years of baseball, no Phillies hitter has ever done what Hoskins is doing. Only Hoskins, Trey Mancini, and Delgado have ever hit 8 homers within their first 50 career at-bats.
Hoskins is actually hotter than that. He went homerless in his first four games, before slugging 8 dingers in his last 11 contests. Over the last 14 days, only Gary Sanchez has hit more bombs than Hoskins (9), while Giancarlo Stanton has also parked 8. Since being called up a little over two weeks ago, Hoskins is batting .283/.406/.755 with 19 RBIs in his first 15 games, including 8 in his last two.
In addition to the power, Hoskins has also displayed outstanding plate discipline thus far, something he was known for throughout his minor league career. He has walked in 15.6% of his plate appearances and struck out in 17.2% of them since being called up. He has a z-contact rate of 92.2% according to Fangraphs, meaning he has made contact with 92.2% of the pitches thrown to him inside the strike zone. The league average is 85.6%.
Perhaps most impressively, Hoskins has a slash line of .308/.357/1.000 with 3 homers after he has fallen behind in the count 0-2. He simply doesn't chase bad pitches, as evidenced by his 24.7% swing percentage on pitches out of the zone (league average is 29.8%).
In 475 plate appearances with AAA Lehigh Valley this year, he hit .284/.385/.581 with an International League-best 29 homers and 91 RBIs. He struck out in just 15.8% of his plate appearances and walked in 13.5% of them, improvements from his AA numbers the year before. So his outstanding plate discipline is not a surprise.
And while Hoskins should hit a bunch of homers in the Majors, it is still very early in his career and the league will make adjustments -- and he will have to adjust back. But so far, his power surge has taken the league by storm, and he's doing what few others in baseball history have ever done.