Coming into the season, the Phillies were viewed as a bit of a dark-horse option to compete in a loaded National League landscape. There was no doubting that the team had potential. Boasting superstar talents Bryce Harper, Aaron Nola, and J.T. Realmuto, the Phillies roster was certainly nothing to scoff at.
The lingering question concerning the offense was if Rhys Hoskins could string together a consistent season and help drive the offense the way he was capable. Through the first six games of the young season, the answer is a resounding yes.
Hoskins’ Impact For the Phillies So Far
Hoskins has been a man on a mission to open the season. In just six games, Hoskins has collected ten hits, the highest amongst all Phillies batters. Amazingly, he has collected at least one hit in each of the Phillies’ contests thus far. This includes three consecutive multi-hit games.
Once a bit overly cautious on offense, Hoskins has been locked on offense to begin the new campaign. Admittedly, it is a small sample size. However, Hoskins doesn’t appear to be as hesitant to swing the bat as he was in years past. The hard-swinging first baseman is picking his spots at the plate and making opposing pitchers pay when they make a mistake.
His .417 batting average is top ten in the National League at sixth and is first amongst all first basemen. Just like a season ago, Hoskins’ production at the plate is having a massive influence on the success of the Phillies.
Last year, the Phillies went 8-2 in the ten games Hoskins hit a home run. Additionally, they were 11-4 when the young slugger drove in at least one run.
This season, on the back of the resurgent efforts by Hoskins, the Phillies are off to a sizzling 5-1 start. With Hoskins producing in the middle of the lineup, the offense is stagnating far less and is less dependent on the play of stars Bryce Harper and J.T Realmuto.
With the lineup lengthened a bit, the Phillies offense is carving out quite the reputation for itself.
Hoskins is Just Getting Started
It’s too early to claim that he is without flaw at the plate, but the Phillies have to be encouraged by what they’ve seen from Hoskins so far. The talented slugger was always a power threat and now partnered with improved plate vision and discipline, he is quickly evolving into one of the tougher outs around the league.
What’s most encouraging is that he may have only just begun truly heating up. In the series finale against the New York Mets, Hoskins obliterated the Mets pitching to the tune of two doubles and his first home run of the season:
Again, his plate vision has been night-and-day from a season ago. Hoskins appears to have a much firmer grasp on the strike zone and picking his spots accordingly. Through six games, he is just the fourth Phillie to ever record 7+ extra-base hits– Ryan Howard (2010), John Kruk (1993), and Del Ennis (1950) being the others.
To say he is on fire would be putting it mildly. Hopefully, Hoskins sustains his high level of play and continues to be an x-factor in the Phillies lineup. Look for him to do more damage when the Phillies return from their scheduled off day to face the Braves on the road.
Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire