On Thursday, Rhys Hoskins looked to stumble looking to play a ball hit behind first base. He fell and didn’t get up until he was carted off the field. A non-contact injury never yields great results but the worst fear was confirmed after an MRI. Hoskins had torn his ACL.
With 7 days left to go before Opening Day, the Phillies have lost their first baseman for the season.
Rhys Hoskins has been a Phillie since late 2017. He appeared in 667 games, sporting a .242/.353/.492 slash line with 148 home runs. In his postseason debut, Hoskins hit 6 homers, including 4 in the NLCS.
His biggest homer of the playoffs came against the Braves in the NLDS. His 3-run homer and subsequent bat spike put the Phillies up 4-0 in a pivotal game 3.
Hoskins becomes a free agent at the end of the season. He could be re-signed by the Phillies but who knows? Rhys Hoskins’ career as a Phillie could be over.
How to move on from Rhys Hoskins
The question now becomes what do the Phillies do at first base for the 2023 season?
Darick Hall is the obvious answer. And for the most part, he is. In 2022, Hall had huge shoes to fill as the Phillies designated hitter against righties for an injured Bryce Harper. He slashed .250/.282/.522 with a 121 OPS+. He hit 9 homers in 41 games.
He’s been solid in Spring Training as well. So far, he leads the team in home runs (5) and has a 1.066 OPS.
Hall has one glaring problem. He can’t hit lefties.
Hall went 1-12 with a single against MLB lefties in 2022. Between the MLB and AAA, he hit .175 against southpaws with a .556 OPS.
The Phillies could take their chance with Hall against lefties. Rhys Hoskins faced lefties in 174 plate appearances last season. Hall would have to face a similar number.
There’s not much of a platoon option for the Phillies presently on the roster. Alec Bohm and JT Realmuto can both play 1st but they’ll most likely stay at 3B and catcher, respectfully, for the majority of the season.
The backup 1B job could go to the newly acquired Kodi Clemens. Son of Roger Clemens, Kodi has played well in Spring Training. He’s slashed .333/.409/.641 in 17 games. Clemens is also a left-handed hitter, meaning he won’t make a platoon match with Hall.
Outside options for the Phillies to replace Rhys Hoskins
I’ll be frank with you. There aren’t any obvious answers just sitting out there.
Miguel Sano is probably the biggest name-brand player still available in free agency. While a righty, Sano has no power when hitting against LHP. In 2021, he slugged just .364 against LHP. He slugged .341 in 2020.
Trade options aren’t particularly great either.
The only piece obviously available would be Darin Ruf from the Mets. The former Phillie does have good splits against LHP. He was terrible in 2022 but still managed to have a .753 OPS against lefties. In 2021, he had a 1.007 OPS against southpaws.
Trading for another piece might not be worth it until the season gets going.
Speculating about the future 1B plans for the Phillies is almost impossible at the moment.
Rhys Hoskins still remains the best free agent option in 2024. There’s still hope that Darick Hall could morph into an everyday 1B but that will all depend on 2023.
The Phillies do not have any obvious prospects on their way through the minors either.
There is still a sliver of hope that Hoskins could make it back for the playoffs. In 2016, Kyle Schwarber tore his ACL and LCL in mid-April and came back to play in the World Series. Is it likely? No. Is it a positive sliver of hope we can hold onto? Yes.
Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire