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Where did Rhys Hoskins come from?

Miami Marlins v Philadelphia Phillies
“Over there. I came from over there.”
Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

I’ve run out of ways to tell my wife that Rhys Hoskins hit another Homer. At this point I just say “Rhys” and she says “Wow” or “Seriously”. Seriously, there’s no reason to exaggerate or make things up about Hoskins (Did you know a ball he hit last week blocked the sun for up to 3 minutes? Seriously.)

It wasn’t always like this for Hoskins. He went undrafted out of High School. The Phillies selected Rhys Hoskins in the 5th round of the 2014 Draft out of Cal State University Sacramento. He is already possibly the most successful player ever out of Cal State Sacramento (depending upon your feelings about Buck Martinez), though not the longest tenured. In his Freshman year of College, Rhys was named a consensus All-American (first player to get that in school history). He also refused some of his scholarship in College to allow the team to recruit another player.

The pre- and immediate post-draft reports on Rhys Hoskins were that he would be a hitter for good average with middle of the road power, perhaps 25 HR/year power. That may sound odd given his recent surge, but power often is the last tool to develop fully and Hoskins has changed his swing mechanics to better tap the power he does have. Early comps were made to a better James Loney slashing something like .290/.350/.450. A common post-draft comp has been Eric Hosmer, which I still think seems viable. It’s worth remembering that Hosmer has Plus power, he just has never really fully tapped into it. It appears Rhys has tapped into all the power potential he has. The fact that he has been able to tap into his power without sacrificing his approach at the plate is pretty rare.

Hoskins debuted quietly after the Draft triple slashing .237/.311/.408 with 9 home runs in short season A ball. The 9 home runs may have been a harbinger no one yet recognized. That may be easy to see in retrospect, but Minor League baseball is littered with guys who can hit like that. For that reason, as recently as 2 years ago Rhys was just another guy in the system.

I’ll finish the way I would my Draft previews traditionally. Video analysis. Below is a video of Rhys from his College days. You can see him hit at the 1:18 mark of the video (h/t SotoSports). You’ll see there’s barely any stride and just a toe tap for timing and weight transfer. The ensuing Homer is all bat speed and muscle.

And, I’ll finish with a video of him from this year (from MLB Highlights). The swing looks similar, but he’s added a small kick to assist with his weight transfer. There’s the increased power.