Could Rhys Hoskins be the key to Phillies turnaround?
Rhys Hoskins has come up with big hits for the Philadelphia Phillies this season, but with a subpar batting average, can more offense from Hoskins be key?
The Philadelphia Phillies are in need of a turnaround, with the team off to a 20-24 start, somehow good enough for third in the NL East and 4 1/2 games back from a wild card berth.
Rhys Hoskins is one of their more interesting case studies.
Hoskins has the second-worst batting average (.222) and worst on-base percentage (.302) of qualified hitters on the Phillies, but has the second-most home runs (seven), RBI (23), and walks (19) on the team.
While it appears that hits are his biggest problem, he’s making them count when he does.
The Phillies have an 11-3 record in games where Hoskins recorded an RBI, compared to an 8-21 record in games where he did not record an RBI. The team won its only game where he did not make an appearance.
According to Baseball Reference’s Stathead event finder, 10 of his RBIs came via the long ball, including a grand slam in the fourth inning of a May 11 game at the Seattle Mariners.
Seven of his RBIs came via a double, including a second-inning three-RBI double against the Atlanta Braves earlier this week.
That’s 17 of his 23 RBIs coming off of an extra-base hit. So far this season, stats show that when Hoskins’ bat is hot, the Phillies tend to win.
That grand slam in Seattle followed extra work during the previous series, where two games at home to the New York Mets were rain postponed.
“Those two days that it rained, and the doubleheader, he worked really hard with (hitting coach) Kevin Long to try to get back on track,” manager Joe Girardi said in a post-game scrum on NBC Sports Philadelphia. “I give him a lot of credit, those are the things that aren’t always seen, how long they hit on those rainy days…he’s in a good spot.”
The offense has been good for the Phillies so far this season, but getting more out of Rhys Hoskins could be the difference-maker in turning their year around.
The Phillies’ .251 BA is the fourth-best in the majors, while their 50 HR and 189 RBI are both eighth-most in MLB.
With a lineup that includes Bryce Harper, Jean Segura, Kyle Schwarber, Nick Castellanos, and J.T. Realmuto, it should be no surprise that the offense appears to be the team’s strong suit.
So, if that’s the case, why is Hoskins the key to a turnaround?
The pitching, for all of its criticism, hasn’t been horrible. The team’s 4.03 ERA is just below the league average of 3.88, while there are still seven teams with a worse bullpen ERA.
The Phillies’ bullpen has four blown saves in 14 save opportunities, which also isn’t horrible given the team’s recent history.
Ok, the pitching isn’t great, but it’s harder to get more out of multiple pitchers or be on the winning side of a blockbuster trade than it is to get just a little bit more out of the offense.
The Phillies have a 3-8 record in one-run games, while 19 of their 24 losses were by a margin of three runs or less.
Most games have been within reach for the offense and if Hoskins is able to come up with big hits more consistently, perhaps the offense can make up for pitching deficiencies enough to win more games and put the Phillies back in contention.