Three Offensive Players to Watch for the Phillies

Three Offensive Players to Watch for the Phillies
Pitchers and catchers have reported to spring training for the Phillies and this will be an interesting camp under new manager Joe Girardi.
              
The Phillies will need many players to have big years to keep up with the heavyweights in the National League East, where Washington is the defending World Series champion, Atlanta is the defending NL East champ and the New York Mets appear to have great promise (although we have heard that before).
 
The Phillies, coming off an 81-81 season, will likely be picked to finish fourth in the division, but Girardi’s presence and some bounce-back years could propel the Phillies into contention. Here are some players to watch who need to reverse their 2019 season for the Phillies to excel.
 
Rhys Hoskins, first base. Hoskins, who turns 27 in March, got off to a great start, but he went into a deep second half slump. Overall he batted .226 with 29 home runs, 85 RBI and an OPS+ of 110, which is 10 percent above league average. He had an overall OPS of .819, helped greatly by leading the National League with 116 walks.
 
In the last two months, covering 54 games, he batted .166 with six home runs, 17 RBI and 62 strikeouts in 192 at-bats.
 
Hoskins is not a strong fielder, so he has to produce with his bat. He will likely begin the season hitting cleanup or fifth and will have to show that last year’s second half was an aberration.
 
Scott Kingery INF-OF. Kingery, who turns 26 in April, showed improvement in his second season. He batted .226 in 2018 and often looked lost. Kingery increased that to .258 last season. Like Hoskins, he stared out hot, but faded in the final three months. From July 1 until the end of the season, Kingery batted .226 and struck out 92 times in 282 at-bats.
 
He has been a super utility player, whose best position is second base. Yet with Jean Segura likely moving from shortstop to second base, Kingery is likely to be slated to play third base. He can also play center field.
 
Adam Haseley, center field. Haseley got his chance when Andrew McCutchen suffered a torn ACL in June. The Phillies first round pick in 2017 out of the University of Virginia (No. 8 overall), he has made it to the major leagues quickly. Whether he stays there will depend on how he handles himself at the plate. Haseley is apparently slated to be the starting centerfielder, although Roman Quinn, if he can stay healthy, could maybe push Haseley a little.
 
Last season Haseley batted.266 with five home runs, 26 RBI and 60 strikeouts in 222 at-bats. He had an OPS+ of 85, which is 15 percent below league average. The Phillies will look for an increase in offense from him, hoping his experience last season will pay big dividends.

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Author: Marc Narducci; Photo by Marc Narducci

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