Phillies: Why is Rhys Hoskins having more success recently?
By Hunter Doyle
Rhys Hoskins’ new approach should encourage Philadelphia Phillies fans
The Philadelphia Phillies are red hot right now, clicking on all cylinders. The offense has produced 31 runs in the past four games. In the last three games, the starting pitchers have allowed just six earned runs while striking out 20 in 18 combined innings.
The bullpen has surprisingly been decent enough to help this team win. They’ve allowed five earned runs in the past 14.1 innings and most of those runs have come when the games were close to over. It’s difficult to expect the bullpen to continue that but it’s encouraging nonetheless.
Another bright spot for Philadelphia has been Rhys Hoskins. Just about one week ago, there was growing concern as to whether he could break out of his slow start to the season or if he would just continue to swing the same way. In his first eight games,
Hoskins was hitting a dreadful .120 with a .160 slugging percentage, one RBI, and a -1.5 offensive WAR. Yes, you read all of those numbers correctly. It was ugly.
To his credit, he was still drawing plenty of walks and is still top five in the league in that department. He’s also seeing the most pitches of any Phillie at the plate because of his discipline, averaging 4.2 pitches per at-bat. It’s also worth noting that he’s scored 13 of the 32 times he’s been on base. It wasn’t all bad for Hoskins but that didn’t change the fact that he wasn’t barreling up the ball at all.
The last nine games have been a lot kinder to him. In that span, he’s hitting .290 and slugging .484 with 5 RBIs and a 2.3 offensive WAR. He currently has a four-game hit streak and during that span, he has three extra base hits. He also has at least one RBI in each of his last three games. He has to keep this up but it’s looked like a different Rhys Hoskins at the plate recently.
Why is Rhys Hoskins so hot for the Philadelphia Phillies all of a sudden?
What has led to that turnaround? Why does Hoskins look like a completely different hitter in his last nine games than in his first eight games? It’s simple. He’s not trying to do too much. He’s hitting the ball where it is pitched. In other words, he’s not trying to pull the ball to left field every at-bat.
In those first eight games, Rhys had a whopping 64.7 pull percentage. He was hitting the ball the center of the field just 17.7 percent of the time, and he was going to the opposite field just 17.7 percent of the time as well. The result? Only 41.2 percent of the baseballs he put in play were hit hard. 23.5 percent of them were hit softly. His one extra-base hit in that span was a soft double to the left field corner which came off of a breaking ball on the outside part of the plate. That would’ve been a much easier task if he had just taken it to the opposite field.
He was hitting line drives just 29.4 percent of the time, ground balls 42.9 percent of the time, and fly balls 33.3 percent of the time. That’s not too surprising because pulling the ball is going to result in rolling over to the left side into groundouts and double plays most of the time. Rhys also owned the third-highest strikeout percentage on the team at that point at 22.9 percent.
The spray chart for Rhys is much more balanced lately. His pull percentage is down to 42.3 percent in his last nine games. He is hitting to the center of the field 23.1 percent of the time and to the opposite field 34.6 percent of the time. Where did he hit his three-run double versus New York this past weekend? Right-center field. Where did he hit his solo home run versus Boston last night? Right field.
Now, he is hitting line drives 30.8 percent of the time, ground balls just 26.9 percent of the time, and fly balls 42.3 percent of the time. 50 percent of the baseballs he has put in play have been hit hard and 15.4 were hit softly. His strikeout percentage is also down to 17.8 percent in that span.
It’s been encouraging to see Rhys swinging with more confidence and with a simple approach. Hopefully, he has figured this out for good. His bat coming alive has been a huge help lately, and the Phillies will need this to continue if they want to make a postseason run this year.