With the Phillies unwilling to promote Rhys Hoskins with Tommy Joseph at first base, Hoskins is starting to spend time in left field.
The Phillies have one of the best first base prospects in all of baseball in Rhys Hoskins who has been an above-average hitter in Triple-A this year. Through 112 games he has a .280/.385/.570 line with 27 home runs and 84 runs batted in. Most teams would have promoted him long ago.
However, the team is caught in a jam because they already have a right-handed hitting first baseman in the majors in Tommy Joseph. He is the reason why Hoskins hasn’t been promoted yet, although I’ve written before about why this logic was off.
Regardless, this is the path the team has chosen, so Hoskins continues to play in Lehigh Valley while Joseph is in Philadelphia. However, the club may have found a way to have them coexist.
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Monday night, Hoskins will start in left field for the IronPigs. Marshall Harris of CSN Philly said on Twitter that the experiment started with Hoskins standing out in left during batting practice and reading the ball off the bat. Now, the club feels confident enough in Hoskins to let him start there in an actual game.
This is the first time Hoskins has played in the outfield since his freshman year of college in 2012.
General manager Matt Klentak previously scoffed at the notion of Hoskins or Joseph playing in left field, but clearly something has changed in the front office’s thinking.
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The Phillies have previously moved different infielders to left field to help clear up logjams. Darin Ruf spent time in both left and right so he didn’t clash with Ryan Howard, and Cody Asche was moved to left to clear the way for Maikel Franco at third base.
With Joseph still on the team after the trade deadline, they will try to build up his value as much as possible through the rest of the season with the hope of trading him during the offseason. This means he will continue to play first base, blocking Hoskins from getting time there.
However, with Hoskins starting to spend time in left, he could be able to get some major-league at-bats. Aaron Altherr is on the disabled list, leaving a gap in the outfield that Hoskins could fill. Matt Gelb of Philly.com wrote that if Hoskins is serviceable in left, he could be in the majors soon – in the next few days in fact.