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Phillies who exceeded rookie limits, Part I: Hitters

Taking a look at the five hitters who exceeded the rookie limits for the Phillies in 2017.

MLB: Miami Marlins at Philadelphia Phillies Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

15 players made their MLB debuts with the Philadelphia Phillies in 2017, a number that was second only to the Cincinnati Reds’ 17.

Ten of the players exceeded rookie limits during the season, effectively taking them off prospect lists and making them ineligible for the 2018-and-beyond Rookie of the Year awards. Five were hitters, five were pitchers. In this piece, we’ll take a look at each of the five hitters who exceeded rookie limits, and then in part two the pitchers will be covered.

Exceeded Rookie Limits in 2017 - Hitters

Rhys Hoskins 170 . 259 . 396 . 618 18 37 46
Nick Williams 313 . 288 . 338 . 473 12 20 97
Andrew Knapp 171 . 257 . 368 . 368 3 31 56
Cameron Perkins 88 . 182 . 237 . 273 1 5 23
Brock Stassi 78 . 167 . 278 . 295 2 12 22

The clear breakout rookie was Rhys Hoskins. Hoskins debuted on August 10 and logged just 170 at-bats yet still finished 4th on the Phillies in home runs and walks. It is impossible to forget his home run tirade in which he hit 11 home runs in 14 games. Then a week and a half later he hit six more in six games. He did this while showing an exceptional approach at the plate for a hitter of his stature. That can be seen when looking at his 37 walks and .396 on-base percentage.

Hoskins also generated a good deal of media attention around the Phillies, something that had not been done since 2012. Numerous national media outlets had him on for interviews and he continually raved about how excited he is for the future of the Phillies. You and me both, Rhys.

Perhaps to his enjoyment, Nick Williams took a backseat to Hoskins after Rhys was promoted in August. Prior to that, Williams had been a highlight and focal point for the Phillies upon being called up to the big club on June 30. One of Nick’s weaknesses throughout his career has been his approach. His 2017 impressed a lot of people as he turned in 20 walks in the MLB, an improvement from his 16 in his first half of the season with the Lehigh Valley IronPigs.

This may sound crazy given Hoskins’ outburst, but the call up of Williams was the turning point of the 2017 season for me. At the time of Williams’ call up, the Phillies were playing some dreadful baseball — May and June were two months of baseball I’d like to forget. Coming into the June 30 game at Citi Field in which Williams made his debut, the Phillies’ record stood at 26-52. From there on out they went 40-44. I attribute it to a new, young, energetic player entering the clubhouse more than Williams’ skill set, but the Phillies evidently thrived off of the young outfielder’s arrival.

Then, we have Andrew Knapp. Knapp exceeded expectations in 2017 while saving us from Cameron Rupp catching five out of every six games. When the Phillies released their veteran catcher pickups prior to the season, ensuring Knapp to be the Opening Day backup, I fully expected another season of Rupp taking the majority of the catching duties. That did not happen, however, as Knapp outperformed expectations and controlled a good portion of playing time until he injured his hand on August 4. If not for that injury, I think it’s safe to say that Knapp could have ended up with the most games played among himself and Rupp.

Cameron Perkins, even with what he experienced in 2017, surpassed rookie limits. He was first called up from triple-A on June 20 after the Phillies DFA’d Michael Saunders. Perkins was then optioned to triple-A and recalled to the Phillies a combined six times throughout the rest of the season. He didn’t necessarily provide much for the Phils, and former manager Pete Mackanin didn’t make it much easier on him as he slotted Perkins in the leadoff position in the first four starts of his career. Fast forward to current-day and Perkins has survived the 40-man roster crunch although he looks to be one of the expendables should the Phillies decide to sign some free agents.

The feel-good Phillies story of the year belonged to Brock Stassi after he made the Opening Day roster following a strong Spring Training performance. It’s tough to forget Stassi’s first interview in the clubhouse in which he was visibly emotional while talking about his journey to the major leagues. But at the end of the day, production is what is needed from a major leaguer and Stassi couldn’t do so. He was assigned to Reading on June 5 due to there being no room on Lehigh Valley’s roster but was then bumped to the IronPigs three days later. He was promoted back to the big league club on June 20 and spent a month with the Phillies until he was assigned back to triple-A. Stassi was DFA’d to make room on the 40-man roster for a September call-up and recently elected free agency.