Is Rhys Hoskins ready for a breakout year with the Phillies?
With Bryce Harper around to help him out, Hoskins may end up getting better pitches. The end result could be an MVP-caliber season for the 26-year-old.
All eyes will on the Philadelphia Phillies as they enter 2019 on a mission. By signing Bryce Harper to a 13-year, $330 million deal, they are hoping to be true forces in the National League East and beyond. While Harper is getting all the attention, that is not to dismiss the offseason the Phillies had, picking up Jean Segura, Andrew McCutchen, David Robertson and J.T. Realmuto.
While the external factors are what people are talking about, it is the internal aspect of the team that can benefit from this. The Phillies have plenty of young talent to go around. One talent looking to have a year to remember is Rhys Hoskins.
Selected 142nd overall in the 2014 MLB Draft, Hoskins’ 2018 was something special. In 153 games Hoskins slashed .246/.354/.496 with 34 home runs and 96 runs batted in. This while being a part of a young Phillies team with no direction. Now in his prime year, Hoskins has a chance to go out there and show the world what he can really do.
The effect Harper had on Hoskins was shown right away. In Harper’s first Spring Training game with the Phillies, he was walked. Hoskins was then given a pitch and launched it down the left field line. While that ended up being the only Spring Training home run for him, it gave fans a taste of what could be coming.
The very first pitch Rhys Hoskins saw batting behind Bryce Harper:
— Eagles Fan Problems (@EagleFanProbs) March 9, 2019
Working around Harper can only lead to trouble. Speaking with Philly.com, Hoskins felt confident in his skills along with those of his teammates with Harper around.
“There’s not really a break,” stated Hoskins.“There’s no deep breath for the pitcher and it kind of becomes a pick your poison type of thing. Somebody eventually is going to get a pitch to hit and I think with the lineup the way it is, everybody is capable of doing damage.”
According to FanGraphs, Hoskins is expected to increase his numbers on all fronts. Slashing .250/.353/.503 with 36 home runs and driving in 99, it is a significant increase compared to just a year ago.
Hoskins had a .850 OPS on a team with no true superstar. Now with multiple, Hoskins has the ability to increase that number tenfold (FanGraphs states .856). A free agent in 2024, Hoskins may end up being the next big player to get extended to a large contract. Having Harper could help Hoskins be a better player and negotiator.
A true leader on the Phillies, the 2019 season could be the most important one of Hoskins’ young career. The numbers are there, can he smash them out of Citizens Bank Park?
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