Rhys Hoskins is the Real Deal

Photo by Richard Wilkins Jr.

In 33 baseball games in the majors, Rhys Hoskins has hit 17 homers. That’s… good. In fact, it’s the best start by a rookie ever. He has a .310 average, a .434 OBP, and a 1.218 OPS so far. He has 37 RBI’s and 31 runs- in 33 games. All of this is flat out amazing, but many people are pausing on passing judgment, because Hoskins isn’t the first young player to come up and tear the cover off the baseball. The game generally figures you out, and why would he be different? Besides, unlike a Bryce Harper, the hype wasn’t always there with Hoskins. He was the 69th ranked prospect in the last Baseball America ratings, and never was ranked before 2017. He wasn’t heavily recruited out of high school, when he ended up going to Sacramento State, and he was a fifth round pick. He’s a right-handed hitting first baseman prospect too, not something that generally excites the prospect watching community. He should come back to Earth, right?

I’m here to tell you I don’t think so. I’m not saying he’s going to hit 80 homers a year, he will have slumps and down times, but I think he’s actually going to be a really wonderful player to watch. His track record in the minors suggests a player who can really hit, for the long haul. Consider:

  • AAA Lehigh Valley- 475 plate appearances, 29 homers, 91 RBI’s, .284 average, .966 OPS, International League MVP and Rookie of the Year.
  • AA Reading- 589 plate appearances, 38 homers, 116 RBI’s, .281 average, .943 OPS
  • A Clearwater/Lakewood- 567 plate appearances, 17 homers, 90 RBI’s, .319 average, .913 OPS

Hoskins has shown a consistent ability to hit .280 plus, post a .900 plus OPS, and drive in a lot of runs. What’s improved each year is his power numbers. He went from 17 homers in 2015, 38 homers in 2016, and 46 this season between AAA and the Majors. He’s a fairly large, strong guy, and as he’s improved his game at each level, his power numbers have improved. He posted a .395, .377, and .384 OBP in A, AA, and AAA, which is to say his patience at the plate has been consistently good. He doesn’t swing at balls, and he’s shown no sign that we should expect him to down the line.

The Major Leagues are not the Minor Leagues, so let’s not try to read too far into his minor league numbers, but they do have value in projecting the future. Based on his professional career to this point, I don’t think you should expect Rhys Hoskins to suddenly struggle, so long as he stays healthy. He’s shown the ability to adjust to what professional pitching throws at him with each level, so the mental side of the game is there. I think you can safely view Hoskins as a 35–40 homer, .900 plus OPS, .375 plus OBP, 100 RBI player moving forward. He’s just 24 years old too, so I feel good about saying he’s a huge piece of the Phillies future.