Rhys Hoskins is one of the most polarizing athletes in recent Philadelphia sports history, and for good reason. He’s both infuriating and exhilarating to watch at the same time. When he’s hot, there’s almost no one hotter in baseball. But when he’s cold, there’s almost no one colder. Hoskins also has the privilege of being one of the longest tenured players on the roster, which has left a lot of fans with misguided notions that the playoff drought that lasted over a decade was somehow in part his fault. Regardless of what I say in this report card, I’m sure there will be comments both supporting and vilifying Hoskins. My final grade will be simultaneously too high and too low. It’s impressive how polarizing he really is.
2022 stats: .246/.332/.462, 30 HR, 79 RBI, 25.1 K%, 10.7 BB%, 122 wRC+, 3.1 WAR
As stated above, when Rhys Hoskins is hot, he crushes the ball better than almost anyone in baseball. In 2022, he set a career-high in hits (145) and mashed 30 homers for the second time in his career, both of which were second-best on the team. He also led the team in doubles (33), was second in walks (72) and third in RBI (79).
Can I interest you in 36 Rhys Hoskins home runs (30 regular season, 6 postseason) pic.twitter.com/R8lvIrRYKP— John Foley (@2008Philz) January 6, 2023
Playoff Rhys Hoskins was on a month-long hot streak, which played a huge role in getting the Phillies within 2 wins of a parade down Broad Street. He tied with Harper and Schwarber for the league lead in playoff homers (6), and was third in RBI (12). Two of those homers came in game 4 of the NLCS, pushing the momentum of the series further into the Phillies’ favor. And I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention this glorious playoff moment:
Bat spikes >>>>>>#Postseason pic.twitter.com/ZbxJiGcG87— MLB (@MLB) October 14, 2022
Hoskins with two strikes is almost always painful to watch. That’s one of the biggest things that he, the Phillies, and hitting coach Kevin Long, need to address moving forward. He slashed just .152/.263/.287 with 52 hits and 50 walks with two strikes against him in 342 ABs. As also previously mentioned, with every very hot streak also comes a very cold streak. It’s hard to predict how helpful he’ll be with no idea which version of him will show up at any given time.
And then there’s his defense, which is one of the biggest reasons a contingent of fans vehemently don’t like him. Hoskins committed a career-high 12 regular season errors in 2022, which led the Majors for first basemen. He also made two more in the playoffs.
The Phillies were about to get out of the top of the 6th with a double play, but Rhys Hoskins wasn't able to hang on at 1st.— FOX Sports: MLB (@MLBONFOX) October 14, 2022
The Braves got a run in the next AB.
: FS1 and the FOX Sports App pic.twitter.com/z8ZIZ8FmP1
2023 is Hoskins’ final year of arbitration. His estimated salary is just under $13 million. He’s also one of the only remaining big names left in the 2024 free agency pool so it’ll be interesting to see if he gets an extension before he hits the market.
At this point, it’s hard to see any other reasonable option than extending Hoskins at least through 2024. Internal options like Hall or Schwarber (this is one of the weirdest suggestions for “improvement” that I’ve seen) won’t provide a significant upgrade across all aspects of play, trade targets would be extremely expensive to acquire, and the first base free agency market in 2024 is dreadful.