Rhys Hoskins

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Rhys Dean Hoskins

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Biographical Information[edit]

One month before making his major league debut with the Philadelphia Phillies on August 10, 2017, outfielder Rhys Hoskins played for the United States team in the 2017 Futures Game. After starting off his career 0 for 12, he hit his first two major league homers in the same game, on August 14th against the San Diego Padres in a 7-4 loss. That was the start of a tremendous hot streak, as he hit 9 homers and drove in 21 runs in his first 16 major league games. No player had ever hit his first 9 homers that quickly. He had hit 29 homers in 401 at-bats for the AAA Lehigh Valley IronPigs, so his power display was not a complete surprise. On August 26th, with a 1st-inning homer off Kyle Hendricks of a 17-2 loss the Chicago Cubs, he became the fastest player in history to reach 10 homers, having needed only 17 games. The record was previously of 21 games, shared by George Scott with the 1966 Boston Red Sox and Trevor Story of the 2016 Colorado Rockies. He also tied the Phillies record for homers by a rookie in a month, held by Ryan Howard. The fairy tale continued the next day, August 27th, as he started a triple play in left field and also hit homer #11 in a 6-3 win over the Cubs. The triple play, which came after a sliding catch in the 5th, was the first one started by a Phillies outfielder since Alex Johnson in 1964. He was also the fifth player in Phillies history to homer in five straight games. His hitting streak reached 13 games before he went 0 for 3 on September 1st. In spite of missing the first ten days of the month, he was still named the National League Rookie of the Month. He kept up his torrid pace in September: on September 13th, he hit his 17th homer against Dan Straily of the Miami Marlins, in just his 33rd game. The previous record holder, Wally Berger, had needed 42 games with the 1930 Boston Braves. Home run #18 the next day gave him that record as well, in this case beating Gary Sanchez, who had reached the total in 45 games just the year before. He finished the year at .259 with 18 homers and 48 RBIs in 50 games.

In 2018 he started the year well, batting .303 with 4 homers and 19 RBIs in 28 games in April. However, he went cold in May, being limited to a .161 average, 2 homers and 9 RBIs in 24 games. Then on May 28th, he hit himself in the mouth with a foul ball and was removed from the game. After passing concussion tests, he was allowed to play the next day, hitting a pinch double, but further tests revealed a fractured jaw, putting him on the disabled list. He returned on June 9th and did not miss any more significant time after that, finishing the year at .246 in 153 games, with 38 doubles, 34 homers, 87 walks, 89 runs scored and 96 RBIs. His OPS+ was 125 - down from the outstanding 162 he put up as a rookie, but still very good. However, his defense in left field was below par, and in 2019 he became a full-time first baseman. He played 160 games that year and led the National League with 116 walks, compensating for a .226 batting average (his OBP of .364 was very good in spite of the low BA). He belted 33 doubles and 29 homers, in addition to the first 5 triples of his career. He scored 86 runs and drove in 85 for an OPS+ of 111, which would turn out to be the lowest of his career.

In the pandemic-shortened 2020 season, he appeared in 41 of his team's 60 games, hitting .245 with 10 homers and 26 RBIs, his OPS+ rising to 138. However, the Phillies missed the postseason, largely due to bullpen issues, and his production fell under the radar, which would be the case in 2021 as well when teammate Bryce Harper got all the coverage for another Phillies team that sputtered around the .500 mark under manager Joe Girardi. At that point, he had been completely bypassed for individual honors since his rookie season, never receiving a single MVP vote and never making an All-Star team, and not receiving either a Silver Slugger Award or a monthly award. Fans may have concluded as a result that his career was a disappointment, but it wasn't the case: he was a solid contributor every year, but did not do anything to draw headlines. Thus his season of putting up an OPS+ of 129 while hitting .247 with 27 homers and 71 RBIs in 107 games was barely noticed. His season ended early as he suffered a left groin strain in early August, and after returning from the injured list for a few games, he was placed on the IL for the remainder of the season on August 26th.

In 2022, he had another solid but underappreciated season, hitting .246 with 30 homers and 79 RBIs, scoring 81 runs and finishing with an OPS+ of 122, but the difference was that the Phillies got hit after replacing Girardi with bench coach Rob Thomson in June and surged into the postseason for the first time in over a decade. Harper, J.T. Realmuto and Kyle Schwarber were the big stars on the team, but Hoskins was once again an excellent support player and also the longest-tenured position player on the Phils by that point. His postseason did not start well, as he went 0 for 9 as the Phillies upset the St. Louis Cardinals in the Wild Card Series, but he contributed with his bat after that, especially in the NLCS against the San Diego Padres when he slugged four homers and drove in seven runs (he had no other hit or run scored in that series, however). In the World Series loss to the Houston Astros, he hit .120 (3 for 25) with a home run off Lance McCullers, one of five hit by the Phillies in the game, in a 7-0 win in Game 3 on November 1st.

On March 23, 2023, he suffered a serious injury just before the start of the season as he tore the ACL in his left knee in a Grapefruit League game. He tripped while back-pedaling to field a ground ball and fell awkwardly. He was carted off the field and it was announced that he would need to undergo surgery. He missed the entire season then became a free agent after that. On January 26, 2024, he signed a two-year contract with the Milwaukee Brewers worth $34 million.

While in college, Hoskins was Western Athletic Conference freshman of the year in 2012, and WAC player of the year in 2014.

Notable Achievements[edit]

Further Reading[edit]

  • Christina De Nicola: "Hoskins headed to WS for 1st time in career: Longest-tenured Philly position player reflects on Phils' 2022 postseason run so far", mlb.com, October 23, 2022. [1]
  • Theo DeRosa and Adam McCalvy: "Brewers finalize two-year deal with Hoskins", mlb.com, January 26, 2024. [2]
  • Mark Feinsand: "Hoskins' memorable encounter with young 'No. 1 fan' a long time in making", mlb.com, June 4, 2024. [3]
  • Ben Harris: "Hoskins first to hang 10th HR by 17th game", mlb.com, August 27, 2017. [4]
  • Oliver Macklin: "Hoskins too busy for offseason victory lap: OF/1B hard at work on improving defense, preparing for first full Major League season", mlb.com, December 26, 2017. [5]
  • Todd Zolecki: "Hoskins ready to build off stunning '17 debut: Phillies first baseman slugged 18 home runs in 50 games", mlb.com, December 19, 2017. [6]
  • Todd Zolecki: "Philly's love for Hoskins spikes in postseason", mlb.com, October 21, 2022. [7]
  • Todd Zolecki: "Hoskins leaves lasting impact on Phillies fans: Ticket sales spike for June 3-5 series after first baseman signs with Brewers", mlb.com, January 28, 2024. [8]

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