Healthy outfielders means a position change of sorts for the Phillies newest superstar
Two full weeks have gone by since the Philadelphia Phillies called up Rhys Hoskins to the Major League level. Since August 10th, Hoskins has given a reason for many fans to turn the game back on in hopes to see yet another home run. While pointing the franchise in a positive direction, there is still one problem; he is not an outfielder.
Give credit where credit is due, Hoskins has put a lot of concerns to rest since being called up earlier this month. After getting a start in left field back on August 7 for the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs (the Phillies Triple-A affiliate), there was outrage from Phillies fans. The career first baseman had not played in the outfield since his freshman season at Sacramento State back in 2012. The concern surrounded the change of position and what could affect the mindset of a baseball player.
Hoskins started his major league career in left field and went 0-10 in his first three games. Now the outfielder/first baseman is batting .309 with an outstanding .413 OBP, and of course the biggest number of them all, 11 home runs.
In his 19 games with the Phillies, Hoskins started 16 in left field and just three at first base. Clearly, the change of position has not hurt the 24-year-old who has 13 extra base hits and began a triple play over the weekend. However, the true first baseman must return to his position the day Aaron Altherr is off the disabled list.
It should not be viewed as a coincidence that Hoskins was moved to the outfield just three days after Aaron Altherr injured his hamstring after a Friday night loss to the Rockies. With both Altherr and Odubel Herrera on the DL, Hoskins needed to play the majority of his innings in the outfield. Now that they both near their returns, the play of Hoskins is an easy choice over current first baseman, Tommy Joseph.
Last season Tommy Joseph got the raw end of the deal during the unofficial fair well tour for Ryan Howard. Joseph experienced a platoon roll and played well during his limited time on the field. Once the season had come to an end, many Phillies fans expected a big year for the first baseman in 2017. Joseph, a converted catcher, has struggled all season now batting .239 after finishing the month of July at .256.
In 122 games, 19 home runs is not enough for an everyday first baseman like Joseph. With 113 strikeouts and just 32 walks, Joseph has not shown anything that should keep Hoskins from taking over the position once the team is at full strength. Hoskins seems to be a long term answer for the Phillies, and he should continue to be one at his natural position.
Hoskins has proved people wrong with his performance since being placed in the outfield, but the numbers should not make your decision. Altherr, Nick Williams, and Herrera have already proved to be major league outfielders.
The 2016 (Mickey Moniak) and 2017 (Adam Haseley) first round draft picks are both outfielders. Now is not the time to create an even bigger log jam. Move Hoskins back to first base, and let him continue to rip the cover off the baseball.