Is Rhys Hoskins the future at first base for the Phillies beyond 2023?

Rhys Hoskins, #17, Philadelphia Phillies. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Rhys Hoskins, #17, Philadelphia Phillies. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images) /
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Rhys Hoskins
Rhys Hoskins, #17, Philadelphia Phillies (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /

Do Phillies 1B Rhys Hoskins’ defensive struggles loom large over his future?

What makes Rhys Hoskins so polarizing is his ability to go on hot streaks and cold streaks. In fact, Hoskins has had five separate months over his career when he played 20 or more games, yet failed to have a batting average above .200.

The most recent month Hoskins did this was April 2022. Hoskins started 21 of the Phillies’ 22 games and batted .197/.303/.368 — and also failed to have double-digit extra-base hits or double-digit runs batted in for the only time in 2022.

Hoskins also leaves a lot to be desired defensively, too. The 29-year-old committed a career-high 12 errors in 2022 and received backlash for letting a ground ball or two get by him in the postseason. Hoskins also ranked 34th among major league first basemen in outs above average. According to Baseball Savant, Hoskins was usually not the one to make the big play defensively — as his Outs Above Average (OAA) was -9 for the 2022 season.

Despite this, it still seems unlikely the Phillies could upgrade at first base — even if they wanted to. Hoskins may not be Major League Baseball’s best first basemen, but trading him away doesn’t mean the Phillies get a top-five player at the position, such as José Abreu or Paul Goldschmidt.

It would also be a head-scratcher to see the Phillies trade Rhys and then promote Darick Hall to the majors with the Phillies’ new-found expectations. Despite Hall batting .250/.282/.522 and slugging nine home runs in his 136 plate appearances, he is already 27 and the chances of Hall matching the upside of Hoskins appear incredibly slim.