The Importance of Rhys Hoskins to Phillies Success in 2020.
There’s no question that Rhys Hoskins had a disappointing season last year. The Phillies need Rhys to get back to his 2017-2018 self as we approach opening day. The hunt for October baseball may depend on it.
The story of Hoskins’ MLB career has been a rollercoaster of emotions that has to date, played out in 4 parts.
Lets talk about the year Rhys broke into the MLB, 2017. He started this year in the Phillies’ AAA affiliate the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs (the team with the bacon uniforms). During his time (115 games) with the ‘Pigs Rhys batted .284 with 29 HRs, 91 RBIs, and 114 hits in 401 at-bats. He also had an OPS (on base plus slugging for the not-nerds) of .966 which is incredible to say the least. He essentially forced the Phillies’ for a late season call up to the show and on August 17th,
Rhys made his MLB debut against the San Francisco Giants. The next day Rhys hit his first two home runs of his career. He went on an absolute tear to finish the season. Hoskins was the fastest rookie to hit his 9th, 10th, and 11th home runs doing so in only 18 games (64 at-bats). He also set a Phillies record with home runs in 5 consecutive games. Rhys finished the year with 18 home runs, which is the most anyone has hit since making their debut after August 1st.
2018: The Young Leader
Rhys started the year on the Phillies 40 man roster as their starting LF. Remember when Carlos SLAMtana? Yeah, he was the starting 1st baseman for the 2018 squad. In his first full dose of MLB action Rhys batted .246 with 34 home runs (tied for 7th in NL) , 96 RBIs, and 137 hits with 38 of those hits being doubles. He also appeared in the Home Run Derby this year despite not being an all-star, and buddy let me tell you its always awesome when your own guy is in the derby.
As the year shaped out Rhys started to truly look like a piece for the Phillies’ future going forward, seeming to become the pseudo-leader of this young roster.
2019: The Disappointment
Coming into 2019 Hoskins was seriously being considered in the NL MVP race with a comfy spot between Harper and Realmuto in the batting order. And well…that didn’t happen.
Rhys batted a measly .226 with 29 HRs (20 of which came before the all-star break), and 89 RBIs, what really sticks out is his batting average dipping a full .20 points. His OBP (on base percentage) also dropped .21 points.
Watching Rhys and the Phils last year (yes, I know, I’m a sucker) was whats the word? infuriating? Yeah sure lets go with that. With tanning booth tanned, cool sun glass wearing, ice cream spitting manager Gabe Kapler staring down the barrel of his Phillies managerial career (he managed to find a job with the Giants shortly after his firing, somehow) , there seemed to be no hope at all and the Phils finished 80-80.
Rhys didn’t look comfortable at the plate really until the club brought back former manager Charlie Manuel to become the new hitting coach, a move that ended up lighting a small fire under the 26 year old.
“What you see is we are inconsistent, that’s for sure,” Manuel said. “At the same time, though, we’ve just got to get back to enjoying the game and [improving our] situational hitting.”
If Hoskins can return to form this year, we should all be feeling way more optimistic about the Phillies playoff chances. Rhys is very aware about his 2019 struggles and came into camp with a new, more compact swing:
Rhys Hoskins’ new swing. I’m getting some Edwin Encarnacion vibes from it. #Phillies
(Video on left is from April 2019) pic.twitter.com/nN84SoWCin
— Lance Brozdowski (@LanceBroz) February 13, 2020
With new skipper Joe Girardi at the helm and a lineup that can definitely produce some runs, we’re all pulling for Rhys to get back on track and become the player we all know he can be.