Nats’ Christmas Eve trade means the Phillies must keep Hoskins

Rhys Hoskins
PHILADELPHIA, PA – AUGUST 31: Philadelphia Phillies first baseman Rhys Hoskins (17) at bat during the Major League Baseball game between the Philadelphia Phillies and the Washington Nationals on August 31, 2020 at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia, PA. (Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire)

On Christmas Eve, the Washington Nationals decided to make things a bit more interesting in the National League East. The Nats shipped out pitching prospects Wil Crowe and Eddy Yean to Pittsburgh in return for first baseman Josh Bell. Was this a strong sign that Rhys Hoskins will remain with the Phillies?

A number 3 and 6 prospect usually means a big haul. In this case, it’s not much. Wil Crowe is 26 years old, much older than most prospects. His track record was uninspiring as well. In AA ball, he had a 4.36 ERA. Like most pitchers in AAA in 2019, he struggled hard to the tune of a 6.17 ERA.

2020 saw the major league debut of Crowe. In no uncertain terms, he didn’t look like a pitcher playing at the highest level. He posted an 11.88 ERA in 3 starts and a 12.31 Field Independent Pitching only confirms his struggles.

Eddy Yean, the Nats #6 prospect, is currently only 19-years-old. He had a respectable 3.50 ERA in 2019, but that was between rookie ball and sort season ball. In an average farm system, these prospects would probably fall in the late teens.

All this shows is that even if the Phillies wanted to trade Rhys Hoskins, the trade value isn’t there.

Bell and Hoskins both have similar traits. In the 2017 NL RotY voting, Bell and Hoskins came in 3rd and 4th place. respectfully. Both Bell and Hoskins aren’t good defensive first basemen. Bell especially isn’t good defensively as he has -32 defensive runs saved below average in parts of 5 seasons.

The power numbers advantage goes to Hoskins as well. Over 162 games, Bell averages 25 homers while Hoskins averages 36. Bell only does one thing better than Hoskins: hit for average. Bell has a .261 BA for his career while Hoskins has a .239 average.

In reality, Hoskins would most likely bring more back in a trade. But, is it worth it? Absolutely not.

Hoskins has one skill that one could consider elite and that’s his on-base skills. Even when Hoskins struggled in 2019, he led the league in walks and posted a .365 OBP. In 2020, he raised that mark by exactly 20 points.

Hoskins won’t be a free agent until 2024 and the Phillies must take advantage of that. He’s essentially a tiny bit better version of Pat Burrell. Through Burrell’s first 4 seasons he had a 115 OPS+ (On Base plus Slugging compared to the league average). In comparison, Hoskins has a 125 OPS+ through his first 4 seasons.

The Phillies won with Pat Burrell and the Phillies can win with Rhys Hoskins. There’s no reason to trade him.

Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire