Phillies Rhys Hoskins Will Need a Comeback Season Next Year

Phillies Rhys Hoskins Will Need a Comeback Season Next Year
Phillies manager Gabe Kapler talked about wanting to play meaningful games in September and he got his wish, at least for a while.
 
The Phillies entered September 3.5 games out of the second wildcard spot. After Monday’s loss in Washington, they fell to 10-11 for the month, knocking them out of contention.
 
While the starting pitching has received the brunt of the blame, the bullpen has been injured and inconsistent and the offense has been undependable.
 
One of the things the Phillies will have to do next season is get first baseman Rhys Hoskins settled. On the positive side, Hoskins has proved to be a true workhorse. He began the week having missed just one game, after playing in 153 last year.
 
Hoskins also had a 115 OPS plus, which is on base plus slugging percentage adjusted to the player’s ballpark. With 100 being average, he was 15 percent above average.
 
Hoskins also had 29 home runs and a league-leading 112 walks. His OPS was a more than respectable .840, the byproduct of so many walks. His on base percentage was a healthy .370.
 
Yet Hoskins entered the week having struck out 164 times, or 14 more than last year.
 
This was his second full season and third overall and Hoskins, who turns 27 in March has regressed.
 
There was a school of thought that moving from left field, where he was clearly uncomfortable back to first base this year would help not only the team defense, but Hoskins’ offense.
 
He is far from a gold glover at first base, but he is much better than in the outfield.
 
As for offensively, he seems to be thinking too much at the plate. When Charlie Manuel was named hitting coach in August after John Mallee was fired, Hoskins showed some improvement but he has fallen back into his old bad habit.
 
Hoskins has particularly struggled against righthanders. Through Sunday, he was hitting .217 with a .779 OPS in 414 at-bats against righthanders.
 
Contrast that with a .277 average and 1.020 in 130 at-bats against lefthanders.
 
With Bryce Harper often hitting in front of him, Hoskins has had his share of chances to drive in runs.
 
Hoskins started out well this year. In March/April and May his slash line was .277/401/.535. He had 13 home runs and 42 RBI in 56 games.
 
He has as many RBI in the first two full months as he has had in the last four. Hoskins did strike out 61 times I the first two months.
 
Yet since May, he has been on a downward spiral.
 
Maybe he can come to spring training with a new outlook, not thinking too much, but letting his very good hitting instincts take over.
 
He is far from the sole reason for the Phillies disappointing season. Yet if Hoskins can revert to his form as a rookie in 2017. He was recalled later in the year and had 18 home runs and a 162 OPS+.
 
The Phillies have so many holes that they need to fill, but one way to improve next season is if Hoskins can show his rookie performance was no fluke.

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Author: Marc Narducci; Photo by Marc Narducci

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