As we began the series with catcher on Monday, we now look to 1st base to see what the pipeline holds for the big club in the future.
- Rhys Hoskins - 2016 - AA Reading - .281/.377/.566, 21.2% K, 12% BB
What a 2016 for Hoskins, who put on a show and came up 2nd in the minor league home-run race to fellow teammate Dylan Cozens. Baseball America seems to think so highly of him that he was their 6th best Phillies prospect in their most recent rankings. Despite the “Reading Factor”, the home/road splits for Hoskins aren’t quite as bad as some of his other teammates. He still slashed .270/.357/.496 with 13 HR on the road this season. The plate discipline is there, but many skeptics are still unsure of the bat and in-game power in relation to better offspeed offerings. Hoskins provides average defense at 1st, so he will need to really hit the hell out of the ball if he’s going to have any staying power in MLB. He will likely get an invite to Spring Training and will compete for a job with incumbent Tommy Joseph. I’d give it less than 5% chance of him winning that battle. Otherwise, we will get a chance to see Hoskins in a loaded Lehigh Valley lineup for much of 2017.
2. Kyle Martin - 2016 - A+ Clearwater - .250/.324/.433, 22.9% K, 9.2% BB
This was just Martin’s second pro season, but is already 24 years old (turned 24 in November). He finished 4th in the HR race with 19 dingers last season. His BABIP fell from .339 his previous season with Lakewood to .290 and it shows. Here is the initial write-up from the draft on Martin and I think a lot of the criticisms still apply. Being confined to 1st base means he will need to continue to hit, and at a much better clip than what he is doing now. Luckily for him, Hoskins moves to AAA, allowing Martin to get the majority of the at-bats for Reading this upcoming season.
3. Luis Encarnacion - 2016 - Short-A Williamsport - .162/.210/.217, 35.7% K, 4.7% BB
There was a lot of hype for the kid when he signed with the Phillies back in 2013 for $1 million. He was 16 years old, the #4 rated prospect by BA and the raw power you can only dream about. After two disappointing seasons with the GCL Phillies, Encarnacion was given the chance as an 18 year old in Williamsport where he only floundered further. He simply just could not hit right-handed pitchers and has struggled with that aspect through his very short minor league career. I don’t want to write-off an 18 year old IFA who is struggling with just about every pitch offering, but I do believe the slack grows ever shorter with each passing year. Look for Luis to get another shot in Williamsport next season.
4. Darick Hall - 2016 - Short-A Williamsport - .282/.372/.518, 25.2% K, 5.7% BB
Hall was the Phillies 2016 14th round pick out of Dallas Baptist University and was immediately placed in Williamsport where he saw time at 1st and DH. Here is Cormican’s brief writeup following the draft. He was great in college and showed enough in 2016 to remain optimistic about the bat. Obviously, Hall will need to improve the plate discipline as he climbs the organizational ladder. He has raw power and will be able to showcase it in Lakewood next season. Hall also pitched in college, so let the Brock Stassi-comps commence.
5. Zach Green - 2016 - A+ Clearwater - .263/.326/.423, 27.9% K, 5% BB
Drafted as a third baseman, it hasn’t quite worked out for Green. He’s moved across the diamond and has had some trouble staying on the field with injuries the last couple years. 2016 saw him play a career-high 96 games and hit 12 HRs. The OBP might look slightly worse if it weren’t for the 15 HBP he was assaulted with last season. Green is 22 years old, having spent the last 2 seasons in Clearwater and will turn 23 before the 2017 begins. I don’t see him taking many at-bats away from Kyle Martin, so perhaps look for him to spell Martin against lefties in Reading with some DH/3B a possibility as well.