When Rhys Hoskins joined the Philadelphia Phillies on August 10, 2017, he became an instant fan favorite. Winning NL Rookie of the Month that August and finishing in fourth place for the 2017 NL Rookie of the Year, Hoskins accrued 18 home runs and 48 RBIs in just 50 games played. Seeming to break records left and right, Hoskins gave the last place Phillies team and its fans something to get excited about. Of course, the question at the beginning of the 2018 season was: Can Hoskins continue to play this well?
With 31 home runs, 80 walks, and 91 RBIs, Hoskins places 15th, 13th, and 17th in those respective categories. Thus, as we near the end of the 2018 season, it seems fair to say that Hoskins mostly did live up to the hype that he generated this time last year. Despite these impressive numbers, Hoskins’ offense has been streaky, and some believe he would be more successful if he could start regularly at his natural position of first base. When the Phillies signed Carlos Santana in the 2017 offseason, in an attempt to get some veteran talent in a young clubhouse, he became their everyday first basemen, pushing Hoskins to left field, where he has committed six errors on the season. While Santana’s offense has been disappointing, Hoskins does seem to lack some veteran poise.
One of the most-loved players on the team, Hoskins is very active on social media, seems to enjoy interacting with fans, and isn’t afraid to laugh at himself. After running into the outfield wall while trying to make a catch on July 10, Hoskins tweeted “Wall: 1 Rhys: 0…Can’t wait for our next meeting Mr. Wall.”
Can’t wait for our next meeting Mr. Wall
— Rhys Hoskins (@rhyshoskins) July 11, 2018
Yet, despite Hoskins’ affable attitude, he seems to have a bit of a temper. He often argues balls and strikes with umpires, and on at least one occasion, he’s even argued with fans at the park. Once, after striking out, he told a heckling fan, “You go hit.” In that same series, in which the Yankees were in town, an estimated 20,000 Yankees fans came to the park, making for the first sellout crowds at Citizens Bank Park in years. On the crowded stadium, Hoskins noted, “I’ve never been in a playoff atmosphere…But I imagine that’s what it’s like.” This comment didn’t sit well with some Phillies fans, who felt that a stadium full of opposing fans was not a good indicator of a playoff atmosphere.
While Hoskins has made some controversial statements and exhibited a bit of a temper, he still has overwhelming support from the fans. They have high expectations for him to succeed, and when the Phillies were still in contention after the All-Star break, the pressure on him and his young teammates became amplified. While the Phillies probably won’t be appearing in the postseason this year, it’s clear that Hoskins will be an important part of the developing team for years to come.