Throughout the offseason, we'll take a look at the best and worst aspect of each key Phillie's season and look ahead at what the goal should be for 2019.
We started last week with Jorge Alfaro.
Today: Rhys Hoskins
"35 and 100" was a popular prediction from baseball fans for Rhys Hoskins in 2018, his first full season in the majors.
Hoskins was coming off a 50-game stint in 2017 in which he hit 18 homers, drove in 48 runs and hit .259/.396/.618. Expectations were extremely high.
Hoskins came very close to reaching those two benchmarks this past season, finishing with 34 homers and 96 RBI. He also hit 38 doubles and walked 87 times.
This is legit middle-of-the-order production and it bodes well for Hoskins' future. He will only become a wiser hitter as he gets more of a book on the pitchers he'll face. Oftentimes, things click for a player in his late-20s. If Hoskins does indeed have another gear to unlock, he could be a top-10 bat in the National League.
As always, though, still areas that require improvement.
You often hear with power hitters that when they homer, they homer in bunches. For Hoskins, that truth has been even more exaggerated than for most.
Hoskins had those 34 homers despite going at least a week without a home run 14 different times. There are about 25 weeks in a season.
Hoskins went crazy out of the All-Star break, hitting .357/.455/.911 with eight homers, seven doubles and 16 RBI in his first 14 games of the second half. He credited the Home Run Derby with reawakening his pull-side power and aggressiveness.
Then: 1 for 27, no extra-base hits in eight games
Then: 3 homers in the next four games
Then: Hit .188, one extra-base hit (a double) the next eight games
Then: Back-to-back games with homers
Then: 2 for 27, one extra-base hit (a double) the next eight games
Then: Three straight games with homers
This streakiness stands out, even in an age of incomplete, streaky power hitters.
The end-of-season totals are nearly where the Phillies want them to be for Hoskins, but there's no question they would have been a better offense had he been even "OK" during a few of those home run droughts. The issue was that when it wasn't a peak, it was a deep valley, especially in the second half.
The beginning of August was when the Phils' downward spiral began. And in 50 games from Aug. 4 through the end of that horrific, penultimate series at Coors Field, Hoskins hit .197 with a .302 OBP.
Consistency is what every player seeks, but it can be an empty word because a player can be consistent even when the results aren't showing. For Hoskins, it just means a couple more hits a month. Had he gotten two more hits a month this season, he'd have been just under .270 with an OBP just under .370.
If Hoskins can go from .246/.354/.496 in 2018 to .265/.370/.515 next season — a realistic goal — the Phillies will have fewer nights when you look up in the sixth inning and they have no runs on two singles.
Defensively, Hoskins isn't going to compete for Gold Gloves, even if/when he returns to first base. He's an average defender there but a liability in left field.
That said, the offense more than made up for the defense, even during an up-and-down 2018. The Phillies still have the building block they thought they had before the season. That's one question that did get answered.
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