The start of Rhys Hoskins‘ big-league career with the Philadelphia Phillies has gone quite well. I mean, anytime a hitter hears his name mentioned in the same breath as Ted Williams, they have to feel pretty good about what they’re doing.
Entering Monday’s game against the Arizona Diamondbacks, Hoskins had accumulated 75 extra-base hits, 100 walks, and 100 runs scored through his first 152 MLB games. If you’re thinking that’s an awful lot of production in a short amount of time, you’d be right.
The 25-year-old outfielder had some big shoes of his own to fill after slugging 18 homers and posting 2.2 fWAR through just 50 games as a rookie in 2017. Despite a slump during May that led to a 50 wRC+ through 100 plate appearances, he’s done a great job of showing his rookie output wasn’t a fluke.
One of the most eye-popping things about Hoskins — outside of all the dingers — is his incredible plate discipline. He posted a 17.5% walk rate through 212 plate appearances in 2017, and that number is currently up at 14.1% through 448 plate appearances this year.
Although his overall contact and quality of contact rates have taken a small step back with a bigger sample size under his belt, the outfielder’s plate-discipline stats have improved. His chase rate is down to 22.6% at the moment (24.0% in ’17), while his swing rate on strikes is up at 61.6% (57.7% in ’17).
Hoskins has continued punishing most fastballs that come his way, too — after posting a wRC+ of 177 against four-seamers and 222 against two-seamers as a rookie, those numbers have improved to 190 and 284, respectively, so far. His overall productivity against sliders has plummeted with more opportunities (224 wRC+ in ’17 to 54 wRC+ so far in ’18), but he’s improved a ton against curveballs.
The ISO still isn’t there (.048), but he’s the proud owner of a 124 wRC+ and 30.4% strikeout rate when facing that offering, which is head-and-shoulders better when compared to his abbreviated rookie campaign (-10 and 50.0%, respectively).
If the Phillies are going to continue surprising everyone and snatch a postseason berth as summer turns to fall, Hoskins will be a crucial piece to the offensive puzzle. He’s doing everything he can to help since returning from the All-Star break, as he’s hitting .303/.410/.773 with a 206 wRC+ in 76 plate appearances.
About Matt Musico
Matt Musico currently manages Chin Music Baseball and contributes to The Sports Daily. His past work has been featured at numberFire, Yahoo! Sports and Bleacher Report. He’s also written a book about how to become a sports blogger. You can sign up for his email newsletter here.