Phillies: Will the real Rhys Hoskins please stand up?

BALTIMORE, MD - MAY 16: Rhys Hoskins #17 of the Philadelphia Phillies hits an RBI double during the seventh inning against the Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on May 16, 2018 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)
BALTIMORE, MD - MAY 16: Rhys Hoskins #17 of the Philadelphia Phillies hits an RBI double during the seventh inning against the Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on May 16, 2018 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images) /
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Rhys Hoskins got off to a torrid start last season to begin his major-league career with the Phillies. However, he’s struggled since. Which is the real one?

The Phillies organization and their fans were in a frenzy over the production of Rhys Hoskins during his time with the team last season. With good reason, people were envisioning Hoskins surpassing 50 home runs when logging an entire season’s worth of games. However, things haven’t quite gone as planned thus far this season.

While Hoskins is on pace for 45 doubles and 98 RBI, his home run production has dropped to a rate of one in 28 at-bats and is striking out at an alarming rate of once every 2.7 at-bats. He’s on pace to hit 19 home runs and strike out 196 times with a relatively mediocre batting average in the .250’s.

What’s even more alarming is that after Hoskins’ 18 home runs in first 118 at-bats, he went 52 at-bats without a home run to end last season. Combined with his numbers far this season and he’s only left the yard at a rate of once every 38.8 at-bats with 72 strikeouts in 194 at-bats.

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So what can we expect from Hoskins in the future? The power is there, as he displayed it throughout his minor-league career, particularly 2016 and 2017. Certainly, there was no chance for him to keep up the record pace to start his career and equally likely that his drastic cooling off trend won’t continue as well.

What is the cause of this sudden relative lack or production? Hoskins still barely has over 300 Major League at-bats.

He is still seeing many pitchers for the first time, while they have seen the videos and know where not to pitch the ball and know what his weaknesses are.

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Obviously, the strikeout totals must decline. Hoskins looks confused at the plate, letting good strikes go by and flailing away at times at pitches out of the zone. Cutting his strikeouts down to once every four or five at-bats means an extra 60 to 100 balls put in play over the course of the season. Even if Hoskins averages a home run every 15 times he puts the ball in play, that’s an extra 4 to 7 home runs per season and an increase in batting average.

Looking at the big picture, Hoskins certainly appears to have the ability to be a big-time power threat for years to come. However, he must learn to make adjustments to the pitcher’s adjustments, one of which is to lay off the bad pitches.

Next: Injury updates: Jerad Eickhoff, Victor Arano rehab

Will Hoskins be a 50 home run, 140 RBI guy or a 20 home run, 80 RBI guy? The answer is likely in between. My guess is that the Phillies can expect 30 home runs and 90 to 100 RBI per season averages from Hoskins for several years to come.

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