The Phillies are better off with 1B Rhys Hoskins than many may think.
As we move around the diamond and analyze the Philadelphia Phillies position by position, it comes time to look at first base. Going into spring training, the Phillies have an obvious starting first baseman in Rhys Hoskins and some other pieces who could play the position when he requires rest.
In previous seasons, we have seen Alec Bohm and J.T. Realmuto play some at the position. Darick Hall — who has a good shot at making the Opening Day roster — is also a first baseman. All of these players can hit. First base may not be the Phillies' strongest position defensively, but first base is not a well-known defensive position around the league.
Hoskins will be in the lineup most days manning the corner infield position, barring injury. He has been a controversial player over the years due to streakiness and suspect defense at times. Hoskins, however, has been a solid first baseman for the Phillies since his 2017 debut. He was even recently ranked in the top 100 players in Major League Baseball at No. 94.
Hoskins has posted a career .845 OPS and has been known to go on torrent hot streaks. His only season in which he posted an OPS under .800 was 2022 — .794. He is also fairly reliable in terms of durability. Last season, Hoskins played in 156 games. Defensively, Hoskins finished with three defensive runs saved, which was an improvement over previous years in which he finished with negative runs saved. In fact, in all of baseball last year, Hoskins finished fifth in defensive runs saved.
People will remember some of his defensive blunders from the 2022 postseason, but he is not as bad defensively as some would think. There is no one else in the organization who can play the position better than Hoskins throughout a full season.
Hall could see some time at the position when Hoskins needs rest or serves as the designated hitter. Hall made headlines last season when he was called up as Bryce Harper hit the injured list. He hit right-handed pitching well, and showed off his power almost immediately with nine home runs and a .804 OPS. Hall can be considered a solid bench bat against right-handers and can field the position when Hoskins is out of the lineup, but is not considered an everyday player — as he struggles mightily against left-handed pitching.
Given the improvements the Phillies have made going into 2023, having Hoskins as their everyday starting first baseman should not be an issue — especially now that he will likely move down in the lineup with Trea Turner moving into one of the top spots.
Hoskins will not have to be the guy to get on base in front of Harper and that should help limit his effect on the lineup when he is in a slump. Look for Hoskins to hit home runs and continue to post an OPS of around .800 in 2023.