The Philadelphia Phillies have had a promising start to the new year. While they are just nine games into the 2021 season, they are currently leading the National League East at 6-3.
As fresh as the new season might be, it’s never too soon to take stock of the team and see where they are shining and where they can still improve. Here are three Phillies who are impressing early — as well as two others who need to step up.
Phillies first baseman Rhys Hoskins is off to a red-hot start.
Following offseason elbow surgery, it would have been understandable if first basemen Rhys Hoskins started the 2021 season slowly, needing to regain his timing at the plate and just focus on getting some quality at-bats. Instead, he’s opened the year red-hot for the Phillies, providing some powerful pop as the lineup heads into the heart of the order.
Hoskins is currently hitting .306 while slugging .639. His six doubles lead the National League and his two home runs are tied for the Phillies’ lead. He’s also been hammering the ball lately with an average exit velocity (EV) of 92.5 and a top EV of 111.5.
Traditionally, Hoskins has been lauded for his patience at the plate leading to his ability to draw walks and get on base. This season though, if there was one area he could improve in it would be drawing walks. He doesn’t have a single base on balls to his name yet, through nine games.
According to FanGraphs, so far in 2021 Hoskins has swung at 32.5% of pitches outside the strike zone, a mark that would shatter his career-high if this pace continues. However, he’s also making contact with those pitches 65.4% of the time, which would be a career-high. It’s nice to see he’s getting the barrel on the ball, but as games progress, he will likely want to become a bit more restrained.