It’s a good time to be Philadelphia Phillies prospect Rhys Hoskins. The 24-year-old outfielder debuted earlier this month and has been on an absolute tear since then.
To give a better idea, Hoskins debuted on August 10 and is batting .297 with 11 home runs and 24 RBI. His OBP is a respectable .408, and he has hit a home run in five consecutive games. Philadelphia has gone 6-11 since Hoskins was called up to the big league roster, but his long-term potential and current performance is overshadowing that.
The question, however, is how long can Hoskins keep this up?
Hoskins the prospect
Hoskins’ rise has been nothing short of incredible. Philadelphia drafted him out of Cal State Sacramento in the fifth round of the 2014 draft and he started his upward trajectory from there. He was at Double-A Reading by 2016 and hit .281 with 38 home runs and 116 RBI before being promoted to Triple-A Lehigh Valley in 2017. Hoskins was batting .284 with 29 home runs and 91 RBI, not to mention a phenomenal .385 OBP and .966 OPS.
In his four years in the minors, Hoskins batted a strong .287 with 93 home runs and 337 RBI. He spent most of his time at first base on that level but moving him to the outfield was a necessary move, at least until first baseman Tommy Joseph runs out of chances.
Either way, as far as prospects go, Hoskins has answered the bell perfectly and provided a necessary spark to the last place Phillies.
Can Hoskins last?
As with any prospect who gets off to a phenomenal start, people are wondering if Hoskins’ hot streak is for real or just a flash in the pan. The start of his MLB career is highly reminiscent of New York Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez, who became a full-time player on August 3 of last year and wound up hitting 20 home runs with 42 RBI in 201 at-bats across just 53 games. That was enough to have him finish second in AL Rookie of the Year voting behind Detroit Tigers starter Michael Fulmer.
Hoskins’ debut came a little later in the month but he is on a similar tear. But will it continue or will he level off like Sanchez has done this season?
Well, the numbers make that a difficult question to answer. Looking at Fangraphs, his strong batting average and OBP come with a low batting average on balls in play (BABIP), .211 to be exact. Hoskins’ isolated power (ISO), which determines his likelihood of getting an extra-base hit is the exact opposite of his BABIP. It sits at an off-the-charts .511, but that is primarily due to the strong power he has showcased since debuting. Aside from his 11 home runs, Hoskins’ sole extra-base hit is a double he hit against the Miami Marlins five days ago.
But it’s also important to keep in mind that Hoskins’ BABIP and ISO were superb over his last two years in the minors, standing at .289 and .291 respectively. After being promoted to Triple-A, Hoskins cut his strikeout rate by over five points and increase his walks by 1.4 points.
That said, though it’s too early to tell how he’ll measure up once opposing pitchers figure him out, the numbers suggest that Hoskins can look forward to a long and fruitful career as a top power threat in Major League Baseball. He takes his walks, makes good contact thanks to a line drive rate of nearly 23 percent on the MLB level, and just makes his job look easy.
The last place Phillies and their fans may finally look forward to getting out of the NL East cellar.
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