Rhys Hoskins made his major league debut on August 10. He didn’t hit his first home run until his fifth game (when he hit two). So it seems absolutely crazy to ask the question of this post - whether he could be the team’s home run leader at the end of the season.
But then again, maybe not. Unless you’ve had your head buried in the sand for the past month, you know that Hoskins has taken major league record books by storm. He is the fastest player in all of MLB history to reach 9 home runs. In fact, keep counting. He’s the fastest to 10, 11, 12, 13, and 14 home runs as well.
Almost all MLB home run attention is on Giancarlo Stanton’s amazing year, as he sits at 54 home runs with 3 weeks left in the season. But, since Hoskins hit his first home run, he has out-homered Stanton 14-12. In fact, he’s been better than Stanton in every regard:
Rhys Hoskins - .326/.443/.811 for a 1.254 OPS
Giancarlo Stanton - .283/.400/.687 for a 1.087 OPS
There's no two ways about it - as we all know, Hoskins has been incredible.
But can he lead the team in home runs by the end of the season? Here’s the current leader board for the Phils:
Hoskins would need to make up 7 home runs on Tommy Joseph in order to take the lead, while also fending off Maikel Franco. (I'm not too worried about Aaron Altherr here because of his continued hamstring recovery.)
Is this possible? Sticking with their current averages for plate appearances per game played (Joseph 3.9, Franco 4.1, and Hoskins 4.2), If each Joseph, Franco, and Hoskins plays in each of the Phillies' remaining 19 games, they will get another 74, 78, and 80 plate appearances each. Extrapolating their current PA/HR rate onto those plate appearances results in the following HR total for the year:
Tommy Joseph - 24
Maikel Franco - 23
Rhys Hoskins - 23
In other words, if we keep everything the same as it's been throughout the year, it's going to be real real close.
If you adjust any of the assumptions, though, it gets even more intriguing. For instance, what if Joseph sees limited playing time because of Altherr's return (moving Hoskins to first so that Odubel Herrera, Nick Williams, and Altherr can play outfield together)? Or, if Franco continues to lose starts to J.P. Crawford at third and Freddy Galvis's quest to play 162 games? Or, if Hoskins' true ability is even better than the numbers above by throwing out his first four games when he was getting his feet wet in the majors, which would bump up his average to 1 HR every 8.2 plate appearances and give him 24 on the season if he keeps that rate up? Plus lots of other possibilities.
Whatever happens in the remaining games, the question that seemed bizarre at the start of this piece is actually quite possible -- after hitting his first home run on August 14, Rhys Hoskins may very well finish the season as the team's home run leader.