Mar 24, 2023

This Season Just Got A Lot Harder

Rhys Hoskins
First Base - Philadelphia Phillies
One of my favorite Phillies of all time was injured in a Spring Training game when he suffered a torn ACL.  As a result, he will miss most, if not all, of the 2023 season.

I've been a fan of Rhys Hoskins since he was one half of the Bash Brothers with Dylan Cozens in Reading.  In 2017, I sat in the 8th row on the first base side to see him get his first hit in the big leagues after he was called up to Philadelphia.  Shortly thereafter, he tore through MLB pitching at a historic pace that resulted in 18th home runs in just 34 games, which is the fastest accumulation of home runs from a player's first appearance in the history of the sport.

It is no exaggeration to say that the Phillies would not be the defending National League Champions this season without Rhys Hoskins.  He had his second season where he reached 30 home runs and was a key contributor to the Phillies offense during the regular season, and although the World Series didn't turn out the way that we hoped, his four home runs in the NLCS got the Phillies there in the first place.
Photo Credit: Cheryl Pursell

The player who will try to fill Hoskins shoes at first base is Darick Hall.  At 27 years old, Hall is older than most of the team's top prospects, but I'm cautiously optimistic about his chances to succeed.  He made his MLB debut last season on June 29th and established himself by becoming the ninth player since the expansion era began in 1969 to collect three home runs for his first three hits in the big leagues.  I was in attendance for his third career MLB home run which came on my birthday.  On that night against the St. Louis Cardinals, Hall's homer in the sixth inning gave the Phillies the lead in a game that they'd go on to win 5-3.

I'm not expecting Hall to replicate what Hoskins brings to the Phillies lineup.  He hasn't been able to draw nearly as many walks as the man that he'll be replacing, and he's got an uphill climb to prove that his power can come anywhere close to Hoskins.  Still, his minor league career has been incredible, and he's been hitting extremely well in Spring Training.  The Phillies also have the option to move Alec Bohm to first base and start Edmundo Sosa at third base against left handed starters (Hall hits right handed pitchers much better than lefties), so it's possible that they could make adjustments throughout the season that will allow the Phillies to get a lot of production out of the first base spot in the lineup, but there is absolutely no question that the team's chances of getting back to the World Series in 2023 have just taken a massive hit.

Photo Credit: Yong Kim

Hoskins is going to hit free agency for the first time in his career after the 2023 season, so there has been speculation about whether or not this injury represents his last appearance in a game as a member of the Philadelphia Phillies.  I'm not willing to go that far.  There's a slim chance that he could be healthy by the end of the season, or potentially for the post-season if the Phillies make it that far.  Even if that doesn't happen, it would be both Hoskins' and the team's best interest for him to accept a qualifying offer for the 2024 season.  It would give Hoskins the opportunity to reestablish his value after a lost season before hitting free agency, and it would give the Phillies another year of their home grown slugger at first base.  Time will tell.