Today, the Phillies will add Rhys Hoskins to their roster, bringing him to the Majors as a left fielder after failing to find a trade partner for first baseman Tommy Joseph. A few months ago, manager Pete Mackanin said the two couldn’t coexist on the same National League roster, but after trading Howie Kendrick and losing Aaron Altherr to the disabled list, the team decided it was better to give Hoskins an audition at a spot they needed help than simply bench Joseph to install Hoskins at first base.
I don’t know how the left field experiment is going to go. Based on the outfield performances of other “how bad can he be out there?” first baseman, I’m guessing this will last until Altherr returns, and then everyone will agree they don’t really want to see Hoskins running around the outfield anymore. But despite the possibility of some pretty bad outfield defense, Hoskins still belongs in the Majors, because he’s probably already the team’s best hitter.
From our depth charts, here are the projected rest of season wOBAs for the Phillies position players.
It’s not even all that close, with Hoskins 30 wOBA points ahead of the next best projected hitters. Of course, this projection is entirely based on his minor league performance, so there’s more expected variance around that mean, but it’s pretty obvious Steamer loves Rhys Hoskins. And for good reason; he walks, doesn’t strike out, and hits for power, which are basically the three things you want to do at the plate.
While he’s been a little older than you’d like prospects to be at each level along the minor league ladder, Hoskins’ results have been so overwhelming that Steamer thinks he’s ready to step in and hit big league pitching from day one. As Eric Longenhagen has noted, some scouts have questioned the swing and the power he’ll show in the Majors, but the concerns raised about him are the same ones that were raised about Paul Goldschmidt when he was mostly overlooked as a prospect. You don’t want to project anyone to get to Goldschmidt’s level, but there are some similarities in their scouting profile and minor league performances, so it’s probably best not to buy comments about Hoskins’ limited upside just yet.
If he can hit like Steamer thinks he can hit, he’s going to be the Phillies first baseman for a good long while. And the Phillies offense might be a lot better tonight than it was yesterday.
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Dave is the Managing Editor of FanGraphs.
No idea Altherr has been so productive. Need to keep him on the field.