A tip-of-the-cap to Phillies minor league first base prospect, Rhys Hoskins. Finally, he made a Top of a “Pick-A-Number” Phillies prospect list.
When Jesse Biddle was traded to Pittsburgh it opened up a slot on the MLB’s Phillies Top 30 List. Quickly, the ‘experts” at MLB slotted Hoskins at 21st on the list. See HERE.
All the rating experts have given the cold shoulder up to that point to Hoskins. Still he has had an interesting 2015-16 season. But the first baseman was the only reason I got up at three in the morning many nights to watch Australian Baseball.
Also, this past season we watched him have a big weekend in Savannah, Georgia for Lakewood and then lead the Clearwater Threshers to first place in the Florida State League. He score the only run for the Threshers in the two losses in the playoffs when he lined a homer into the visitors bullpen at Bright House. Watch HERE. He also doubled in the Sally All Star game and singled and hit a rbi sac. fly in the ABL All-Star games.
He was always worth the price of admission or watching early morning internet TV. Combined in three different leagues, Hoskins hit .311 with 55 doubles, 26 homers and drove in 135 runs. His OPS was over .900. In Australia his all-around game came together when he stole five bases in six attempts and committed only one error in over forty games at first. Watch his last hit, a base loaded double in his final game in the ABL, HERE.
What impressed me the most last season Hoskins was so consistent in over 700 at bats in three different leagues almost every category. He hit over .300 in all three leagues and only in the ABL did his OPS drop just under .900. His at bat to strikeout ratio was an impressive 5-1 in the states and 6-1 in Australia. Unlike Ryan Howard and Darin Ruf, he had no significant split variations in his batting averages against lefties and righties. His runners in scoring position batting averages were .329 in the ABL, .294 in the FSL and .363 in the Sally.
Still, the Phillies Front Office chose to make Kyle Martin, a left-handed hitting first baseman a fourth round pick in the 2015 draft. He went on to hit .278 with a .771 OPS in the second half at Lakewood. Hoskins, a fifth round pick in 2014 hit .317 with a 904 OPS in the first half with the BlueClaws. And Martin is about five months older than Hoskins.
It will be interesting to see what Hoskins does in 2016. The Phillies need a right handed bat who has some pop in its lineup.
This looks to be Ryan Howard last season in a Phillies uniform. He looks like a platoon firs baseman with Daren Ruf getting time against left-handed pitching. Howard made the jump from the Clearwater Phillies and Jack Russell Stadium where he hit 23 homers back in 2003. He went to Reading the next season and hit 37 homers in only 103 games before getting the call to Scranton/Wilkes Barre where hit 9 more. Then, it was a September call-up to the Phillies where he hit 2 more homers.
Another Phillies player still with them is Carlos Ruiz. In 2002 he hit five homers in 92 games at Jack Russell and went on to hit 17 homers in 101 games for Reading in 2004.
It will be interesting to see what Rhys Hoskins can do in 2016 though for some reason he was not invited to the Phillies major league spring training camp.
He hit 18 homers combined for Lakewood and Clearwater in 2015. Places where homers do not come easy. With the wind always blowing out and the power alleys easily reachable at Reading, it will be interesting to see if Hoskins can double-up his home run totals in 2016 and be a Phillies September call-up.