Maikel Franco is only seven months older than Rhys Hoskins but he has been called up to the major leagues by the Phillies to be the every day third baseman for probably the rest of his controlable career. On the other hand Hoskins is still stuck at the lowest rug of full season minor league baseball, the low A South Atlantic League despite leading that league in OPS with an on base percent over .400 and a slugging percent over .500. Hoskins’ OPS of .912 compares to Franco’s .923 OPS when he was with AAA Lehigh Valley.
It’s not that Hoskins’ way is being blocked at the next level of the Phillies minor league system in Clearwater. The Threshers lost its light hitting first baseman Zach Green to an ankle injury a couple of weeks ago and his two replacements at first are both only 5’9″ in height. Clearly they will never play that position if either of them ever make the major leagues.
Hoskins is having a great season with the Lakewood BlueClaws with five homers and three triples and a .310 batting average after the first six weeks of the season. His right handed power would seem to position him to be the Phillies first baseman of the future. With an infield of Franco at third and Hoskins at first the Phillies would be set with two power bats on the infield corners if he can start moving up the Phillies organization soon.
Hoskins was a fifth round draft pick out of Cal State Sacramento in the 2014 draft. The same round of the amateur draft that brought Ryan Howard into the Phillies organization back in 2001.
Back in the first weekend of this month, Baseball Betsy and I had the privilege to watch Hoskins in action for the BlueClaws against the Mets farm team for three games in Savannah Georgia. He was a model of consistency getting two hits in each of those games, going six for 13 in and driving in five runs as Lakewood won all three. Watch below the triple and double in Hoskins at bats from the Sunday May 3rd game in the Savannah series:
Watch Hoskins triple and double Here and Here. Note how he uses the whole field. This is why he hits for average. When both Hoskins and Tocci are hitting Lakewood is hard to beat. See Tocci hit the ball hard to the opposite field HERE. Tocci is currently leading the SAL in hitting at .358.
So far on the season Hoskins is hitting .357 with runners in scoring position and in addition to leading the SAL in OPS he is tied for third in RBI’s with 26 to go with his five homers. The punchless Clearwater Threshers who have hit only eleven home runs as a team to date, which is next to last in the Florida State League, could use a 6’4″, 225 power bat in the middle of their lineup sooner than later this season just as the Phillies will need the same thing in the middle of their lineup by the 2017 season to team with Mike Franco on the infield corners.