Peering Down the Corridor
First Base for the Philadelphia Phillies is a lofty position to fill when Richie' Dick' Allen, John Kruk, and Ryan Howard inhabited the spot prior. Rhys Hoskins has taken over the mantle admirably, but is he the answer for years to come or the foreseeable future?
Enter: Darick Hall. The Arizona native 1B/DH made a name for himself in the minor league system. Hall, selected in the 14th Round of the 2016 MLB Draft, honed his skills to become a power threat, hence the nickname 'Long Ball Hall.'
Since taking over as manager of the Phillies, Rob Thomson has seemingly tapped into the organization's youth to combat the injuries. Undoubtedly, the prospects that get the call to The Show are producing positively for the Phightins. In recent memory, this youth trend translating well to the MLB level is a new sensation for Phillies Phans.
Darick Hall made his Major League debut on June 29th against Atlanta. In his first MLB appearance as the Phillies designated hitter, Hall went 0/4 in the clean-up slot. Not the first outing. However, the next day, Hall went 2/4 with two long balls in a 14-4 rout of Atlanta.
In 10 games with the Phils, Long Ball Hall has .289 BA, .308 OBP, .684 SLG, .992 OPS, 4 HR, 1 BB, 7 RBIs, and 13 SO in 38 AB.
Minor League Stats
2017 Single-A: .270 BA, .334 OBP, .533 SLG, .867 OPS, 29 HR, 101 RBIs.
2018 Single-A/Double-A: .244 BA, .323 OBP, .462 SLG, .784 OPS, 26 HR, 87 RBIs.
2019 Double-A: .235 BA, .344 OBP, .454 SLG, .798 OPS, 20 HR, 67 RBIs.
*2020 Cancelled Minor League Baseball season due to COVID-19.
2021 Triple-A: .230 BA, .338 OBP, .403 SLG, .741 OPS, 14 HR, 60 RBIs.
2022 Triple-A: .269 BA, .346 OBP, .548 SLG, .894 OPS, 20 HR, 67 RBIs.
Keep in mind that Darick Hall surpassed his 2021 stats at the plate in 2022 by the end of June! Hall is on fire, and it explains why he got the call-up. The Phillies desperately needed more pop in the middle of the lineup since the Bryce Harper injury.
What to Expect?
Darick Hall is a slugger. He hits dingers, drives in runners, and only plays one fielding position, First Base. However, the Phillies already have a first baseman in Rhys Hoskins. So, Hall remains the designated hitter until the NL MVP returns.
Hall gives the Phils the pop they need and options for the future. The 1B/DH will provide the Phillies, in an entire season, 25+ HR, 80+ RBIs, and .250 BA (this is generous) with many Strikeouts. Darick Hall's typical outlook is a high-powered first baseman that will not hit for average and strike out a ton. He will hopefully come up clutch most of the time, but there will be many swings and misses.
Plate discipline will be essential for Hall to extend his MLB career. He has only appeared in 10 games, so disappointment and negative outlooks are unnecessary at this juncture. Hall's inclusion on the Major League roster depends on injuries and how the Phillies deal with Rhys Hoskins.
The Ryan Howard Conundrum
The new DH for the Phillies made his debut at 26 years old. He has been "stuck" behind Rhys Hoskins for a year now, but the reality is he probably needed the extra time in Triple-A.
However, does this sound familiar? Hall's call-up is eerily similar to Ryan Howard's promotion in 2004.
Howard made his debut in 2004 during September Call-Ups for 19 games. During his minor league season, Howard hit .291 BA, .380 OBP, .637 SLG, 1.017 OPS, with 46 HR and 131 RBIs. Baseball legend Jim Thome became a large hurdle for Howard to surpass. It warranted a promotion, and by the 2005 season, Howard became the full-time first baseman for the Phils. Thome underperformed and eventually had a season-ending injury. The Phillies could no longer ignore Thome's injury and their surging prospect Ryan Howard.
Obviously, Darick Hall is not hitting video game numbers like Ryan Howard in Triple-A, but he was on track to have a similar season as The Big Piece.
If Hall's trend mimics Howard, then Rhys Lightning might be departing the Phils within the next year.
Click for: Howard Highlights
Rhys Hoskins is commanding a $7.7 million contract this year in arbitration. Hoskins' contract stipulates he has another year of arbitration in 2023; then, he will become an unrestricted free agent.
Due to the large payroll the Phillies have, it makes sense to acquire talent for Hoskins next year since he will be on a contract year. It will all depend on Darick Hall proving he is the younger and better 1B/DH for the Phillies' future.
Statistically, Darick Hall has a higher fielding % than Rhys Hoskins. Thus, for a team that consistently loses games due to terrible defensive play, then Darick Hall might be the cheaper solution at first base.
The rest of the 2022 Season will provide the evidence needed for which players to keep or let walk at a few positions. Let's hope the Phillies keep winning and the organization's youth keep prospering.
Last Week's Discussion: Thank you to all who participated in last week's Rafael Marchan edition of the Young and the Phiery! It was a lively discussion regarding the Phillies' catching possibilities.
Discussion Question(s): Should the Phillies make Hall the First Baseman of the future starting in 2023 (Rhys's Last contract year) or 2024? Or Should they look to Free Agency?