Phillies Hoskins Numbers are Down Slightly, but His Importance Remains Just as High

Phillies Hoskins Numbers are Down Slightly, but His Importance Remains Just as High
Phillies second-year outfielder Rhys Hoskins is not having quite the season he did a year ago, when he was called up from the minors and appeared in his first game on Aug. 10. That doesn’t mean he isn’t having a solid season, it has just been one where he has had some long droughts, like many of his teammates.

That said, Hoskins remains the key to the Phillies chances of playing in the postseason. The starting pitching, especially at the top of the rotation, has been solid and the bullpen, since July, has also been strong.

The offense continues to be inconsistent.

Hoskins remains the most feared hitter in the lineup.

If one went just by WAR (wins above replacement), Hoskins doesn’t seem to be much of a contributor, but that is misleading.

WAR is a good statistic to look at, but it doesn’t always tell the entire story, and that is the case with Hoskins.

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According to MLB, WAR measures a player's value in all facets of the game by deciphering how many more wins he's worth than a replacement-level player at his same position (e.g., a Minor League replacement or a readily available fill-in free agent).

A player with a WAR of 0 is a replaceable player. One with a 1 WAR, means he would contribute one more win than a replacement player.

Entering Tuesday, Hoskins’ WAR according to Baseball Reference was 0.7. Looking closer, he has an offensive war of 2.9 but a defensive war of -2.7.

When the Phillies signed free agent Carlos Santana in the offseason, it moved Hoskins from first base to left field. While Hoskins may not be a gold-glover at first, he is new to left field and it has shown.  He did play 29 games last season in left field, but that isn’t a lot of training.

Yet he is in the lineup for his offense. Last season Hoskins hit 18 home runs and 48 RBI in 212 plate appearances. Entering Tuesday, he had 25 home runs and 77 RBI in 496 plate appearances.

Obviously, pitchers have adjusted somewhat to him, but Hoskins has also made some adjustment. Last year he had an OPS+ of 161, which is outstanding.

OPS calculates on base plus slugging percentage.

According to MLB OPS+ takes a player's on-base plus slugging percentage and normalizes the number across the entire league. It accounts for external factors like ballparks. It then adjusts so a score of 100 is league average, and 150 is 50 percent better than the league average.

So Hoskins OPS+ was 61 percent above league average last year. This year his OPS+ was 130 (entering Tuesday), which is 30 percent above league average. That is still very good.

Last year his regular OPS was 1.014 and this year it is still more than a respectable .875.

At 25, Hoskins is still figuring things out, but he is doing it while being the Phillies top offensive threat and the most important player for the Phillies as they look to earn their first postseason berth since 2011.

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Author: Marc Narducci; Photo by Marc Narducci

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