Continuing our series looking at how Phillies’ position players stack up against their NL East counterparts, today we look at Rhys Hoskins and his fellow first basemen.
From long-time staples like Freddie Freeman to up-and-comers like Pete Alonso, the NL East has some strong competition from the “other” hot corner. In fact, the East is home to three of the top ten first basemen according to MLB Network.
Now, before we get to the listing, these rankings are based off player performance from the 2020 season and only based off the numbers in order to remove any instrinsic bias.
Where does the Phillies’ 1B Rank Up?
|Rk.||Team||Player||GP||OPS||HR||SB||Outs Above Average (defense)|
1. Freddie Freeman
There was no way the 2020 NL MVP was not going to be first on this list. He led the entire league in runs scored (51) and doubles (23) during 2020 and is one of the most consistent hitters in the game. He is also a workhorse, having only missed four games since the 2018 season.
Not to mention, Freeman is a Phillie-killer. In 2020, he batted .400 against the Phillies over 10 games for a 1.197 OPS. Looking at his career numbers, he owns an .890 OPS and 23 HR’s over the course of 175 games against the Fightin’s.
2. Pete Alonso
Following the 2020 NL MVP on the list is the 2019 NL Rookie of the Year. While Alonso had nowhere near as explosive of a season in 2020, the 25-year old still hit 16 home runs (on pace for 45 in a full season).
In contrast to his counterpart in Atlanta, Alonso did not perform well agains the Phillies in 2020. In fact, in eight games played, Alonso hit .194 against the Phillies. Three of his six hits, however, were home runs. Regardless, Alonso is a top-10 first baseman and won’t be going anywhere for a long while.
3. Rhys Hoskins
While Hoskins may be in the middle of the pack on this list, he is still a top-10 first baseman. He is just unlucky enough to be in the same division as Freeman and Alonso. Hoskins had a strong year in 2020 as he continues to demonstrate why batting average does not tell the whole story. His 29 walks in 41 games was right on par with his league-leading 119 in 2019. But he didn’t just get on base, he brought some additional power into his swing, hitting on-pace for 39 home runs in a full season. Hoskins had a much higher OPS than Alonso as well, clocking in for a 137 OPS+.
Hoskins’ season was cut short by a torn UCL in mid-September last season. Following a successful Tommy John surgery, Hoskins’ recovery time was at 4-6 months, placing him right at the beginning of the season in April.
4. Jesus Aguilar
The Marlins have a little bit of a battle going on for first base heading into 2021. Right now, Jesus Aguilar looks to be the most likely candidate for the starting job, but Garrett Cooper and prosepct Lewin Diaz could also get significant playing time.
Aguilar had a good rebound year following a poor 2019 where he found himself traded by the Brewers and waived by the Rays. He hit an .809 OPS and eight home runs over the course of 51 games. As the Marlins continue to develop a strong, young team, Aguilar is proving that he can hold his own agains the NL East.
5. Josh Bell
The newest addition to this list, Bell joins the Nationals following a trade from the Pirates. Bell had a down year in 2020 following an All-Star-caliber performance in 2019 for the Pirates. In 2020, he hit for a .669 OPS, a far cry from the former year’s .936.
Given how crazy the 2020 season was, I’d be more inclined that 2019 Bell will be more likely than 2020 to show up in 2021. Either way, a division where he is at the bottom of the rankings has a strong collection of first basemen, which should make for strong competition in the 2021 season.
Photo Credit: Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire