Thames, Judge, Bellinger, Devers, Stanton, and now the next big story line, Rhys Hoskins. If you haven’t heard of him, it is because he plays for the Phillies who are struggling mightily this season. In case you don’t know what hes been doing I will catch you up:
17 games played batting .300/.417/.817 with 10 home runs and 23 RBIs.
He became the fastest player in MLB history to hit his first 10 career home runs. His success comes as no surprise as the Phillies’ 2014 fifth round pick was destroying double A and triple A pitching over the past 2 years. The question with Hoskins, as with any player who breaks out in such a fashion, is will this success continue? The short answer is no. He will not be the greatest baseball player of all time considering only his first 17 games. But we will look into who Hoskins is and if he will be a successful player.
At first glance, Hoskins is definitely not the player who is getting lucky. With a .211 BABIP, it is fair to say that Hoskins is getting unlucky. Over the past two seasons in double A and triple A his BABIP averaged .291. Hoskins is hitting the ball harder than average with an average exit velocity of 90.1 MPH. Where are pitchers attacking him? As you can see, they are attacking him right down the pipe. He is making contact in the zone at a 93% rate with an average exit velocity of 92 mph. When it comes to fastball in the zone, Hoskins is not seeing altogether too many. Of all the pitches he has seen, 31.42% have been in the zone fastball, which is the same as Andrew Benintendi and Anthony Rizzo sees. He is having success at what he should be having success at, but what about out of zone off speed pitches? His O-swing percentage is at 26.3%, which for comparison, is what Buster Posey is at. In terms of off speed pitches regardless of in or out of the zone he is hitting .300. Another common weakness of most rookie hitters is having success when behind in the count. Currently Hoskins is 7 for 21 with 7 strikeouts but also 5 home runs. In addition, Hoskins is walking at a 15.3% rate and striking out at 16.7% rate which bodes well with what he was doing in the minors having a 13.5% and 15.8% walk and strikeout rate respectively in triple A this year and really has improved from his 21.2 k% in 2016 double A.
Hoskins will continue to be a really solid ballplayer, but it would be silly to expect him to become the next home run king. His home runs are nothing special in terms of exit velocity where he ranks about average at 103 mph. Currently he is walking more than average and is not striking out at a unreal rate, and since we have seen him stay consistent with this in the minors, it is reasonable to believe he will continue that success. It will be interesting to see how Hoskins will continue to perform throughout the years, but for now he serves as a glimmer of light in this bad Phillies season.