Phillies

Rhys Hoskins out of running for 2018 Rookie of the Year — and that's OK with him

Rhys Hoskins out of running for 2018 Rookie of the Year — and that's OK with him

Rhys Hoskins won the Eastern League Rookie of the Year award in 2016.
 
He won the International League Rookie of the Year award — he was also the league's Most Valuable Player — this season.
 
Hoskins will not make it three straight rookie of the year awards next year.
 
His eligibility for rookie status in 2018 quietly expired Monday night when he collected his 131st at-bat since joining the Phillies on Aug. 10. Once a player exceeds 130 at-bats (or 50 innings for a pitcher) he is not considered a rookie for the next season.
 
Hoskins is not disappointed that he won't be in the running to be the National League's top rookie next season.
 
He'd much rather have come to the big leagues when he did.
 
"There's too much valuable information being learned up here," he said.
 
Hoskins is eligible for this year's NL Rookie of the Year award, though he won't catch Los Angeles Dodgers slugger Cody Bellinger, who is the favorite to win the award. Bellinger, in town this week with the Dodgers, has 38 homers and 88 RBIs.
 
At the time of his recall from Triple A Lehigh Valley on Aug. 10, Hoskins was leading the International League with 29 homers, 91 RBIs and a .966 OPS. He ended up third in the league in homers and retained his RBI and OPS leads.
 
Hoskins has had a dynamic arrival in the majors. He entered Monday night's game against the Dodgers leading the majors in homers (18), RBIs (38) and OPS (1.244) since Aug. 14.
 
And he was the NL Rookie of the Month for August.
 
So he can live without the chance to win one more rookie honor.
 
The Phillies have had four rookies of the year in their history — Jack Sanford (1957), Dick Allen (1964), Scott Rolen (1997) and Ryan Howard (2005).
 
Rolen, interesting enough, was on his way to exhausting his rookie status when his season in 1996 ended at 130 at-bats. He was hit by a pitch from Chicago Cubs pitcher Steve Trachsel on Sept. 7 and suffered a broken wrist. The injury ended his season but preserved his rookie status for 1997 and he won the Rookie of the Year award.
 
"At the time, I wasn't really happy with [Trachsel]," Rolen said on the day he was announced as the award winner in November 1997. "Now, I might give him a call and thank him."
 
Rolen hit .283 with 21 homers and 92 RBIs that season. He made $150,000 that year, then the major-league minimum, but earned a $25,000 bonus for winning the Rookie of the Year award. So a little pain equaled a nice gain.
 
Rolen's winning the award in 1997 snapped a string of five straight Dodgers' rookies of the year — Eric Karros (1992), Mike Piazza (1993), Raul Mondesi (1994), Hideo Nomo (1995) and Todd Hollandsworth (1996).

Tim Tebow's chances of actually playing in majors

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Tim Tebow's chances of actually playing in majors

Could "Tim Tebow in the major leagues" actually be a thing in 2018?

The mere suggestion that Tebow could one day rise to baseball's highest level sounded crazy in the summer of 2016 when he signed with the Mets.

One former Phillie referred to it as a "slap in the face."

Longtime baseball man Larry Bowa said this in August 2016:

"Whosever idea it is, they don't respect the game of baseball. It's a hard game. You don't come in at age 28 or 29. I'm not saying he's not a good athlete, but this is a hard game and there are a lot of good athletes in pro ball that never get to the big leagues. 

"I don't think it can happen. There are guys 28 or 29 that are getting released everyday. How can you take 10 years off and all of the sudden be facing guys throwing 95, guys throwing sliders?"

Yet here we are in spring training 2018 and Mets GM Sandy Alderson has said he expects to see Tebow play in The Show.

"Somebody asked me whether I think he'll be a major league player at some point," Alderson told reporters Sunday. "I think he will play in the major leagues. That's my guess. That's my hope, and to some extent now after a year and a half, a modest expectation."

Bovada has set Tebow's odds of playing in the majors in the 2018 or 2019 regular season at 6/1. If you bet against him, it's 1/10, meaning a $100 bet would win you $10.

Tebow played at two levels in 2017: Class A and Class A Advanced. He hit .226/.309/.347 with 24 doubles, eight homers and 52 RBIs in 486 plate appearances. He walked 43 times and struck out 126.

Nearly all of Tebow's minor-league innings have come in left field, where he had 10 errors and two outfield assists in 2017.

Tebow last appeared in the NFL in the 2015 preseason with the Eagles. He went 21 for 36 for 286 yards with two TDs and an interception, adding 82 yards on 14 carries with a TD on the ground but failing to make Chip Kelly's 53-man roster.

Bombs away! Nick Williams takes aim on manager's car in batting practice

Bombs away! Nick Williams takes aim on manager's car in batting practice

CLEARWATER, Fla. — A week into camp, Nick Williams looks primed to build on last year’s impressive rookie season.

Williams has been launching balls in batting practice and manager Gabe Kapler loves it — even if it means he’ll be charged for a little damage to his rental car.

On Tuesday, Williams clubbed a ball far over the fence at Mike Schmidt Field. It landed on the roof of Kapler’s rented Ford Explorer, leaving a dent that would hold a couple of servings of creamed spinach.

“I would trade a Nick Williams home run for a dent in a rental car any day of the week,” Kapler said Tuesday.

“I’m glad he said that,” Williams said Wednesday morning, “because it felt kind of good to hit it.”

Later on Wednesday, Williams put on another power display at Schmidt Field. It was so impressive that Cesar Hernandez considered leaving the field, grabbing his keys and moving his car.

“I just missed Cesar’s car,” Williams said with a laugh.

Kapler was again impressed with Williams’ round of BP.

“Today we had a nice little breeze coming in from right field,” Kapler said. “The breeze did not stop Nick Williams from destroying the baseball and almost hitting my car for a second day straight.

“If he is destroying cars and it happens to be mine, no problem.”

Kapler has no intention of parking elsewhere in coming days. In fact, he likes the idea of Williams using his car for target practice.

“We’re going to make it a bull’s-eye for him,” Kapler said. “That’ll be a running joke. It’s a great way to build relationships. It’s part of the whole scientific plan to make this work.”

Williams, 24, arrived in the majors in June of last season. He played in 83 games and hit .288 with 12 homers, 55 RBIs and an .811 OPS. Like a number of players on the roster, he would benefit from fewer strikeouts and more walks (97/20 in 343 plate appearances last season), but a week into camp, Kapler likes the hitting potential he sees in the young outfielder.

“He’s really shining,” Kapler said. “He really is. He walks around with a perpetual smile on his face.

“Our hitting coaches are enthused about the bat path. The way he sort of lofts the ball to the middle of the field. Some hitters, when they strike their best ball, it’s on the ground. But Nick, when he makes his most solid contract, it has a nice loft to his swing. And in the middle of the field, there aren’t many guys who can drive the ball like he can.”

The Phillies have four outfielders worthy of regular playing time. Rhys Hoskins and Odubel Herrera line up to play left field and center field, respectively. Williams will get time in right. Aaron Altherr can play any outfield position.

Kapler is reluctant to assign roles at this point in camp. But he is confident he can find all four playing time.

“I’m not concerned about that,” he said. “Between pinch-hitting, interleague, someone getting a tweak and missing a week, the occasional rep at first base [for Hoskins], they’re all going to get a ton of reps. I envision plenty of at-bats to keep everybody satisfied, healthy and performing well.”