Dynasty Sleeper-Stud: Rhys Hoskins
Forrest Gump was well known to have some speed. His football prowess makes you wonder how fast he could round that bases. Before Tom Hanks was getting “run, Forrest, run!” yelled at him, he was managing a baseball team. At this point maybe you’re wondering “is this guy going to tell me I should draft Tom Hanks in my upcoming dynasty draft?” Well, if that were possible, I wouldn’t stop you. But perhaps I can sell you on an alternate former student of California State University, Sacramento? He’s not a war hero like Gump to my knowledge, but Rhys Hoskins can sure hit a baseball.
Rhys Hoskins knocked in 38 home runs this past year, the second most in the minor leagues behind his teammate/bash-bro Dylan Cozens (40 home runs). The 23-year-old first baseman slashed .281/.377/.566 in 2016 for the Phillies’ Double-A affiliate, the Reading Fightin Phils. That’s all well and good, why is he not talked about more? I think the biggest reason for this is that the Fightin Phils have a park that likes home runs. It’s true that 25 of those 38 home runs came in the confines of FirstEnergy Stadium, but I think that’s far from a reason to look the other way.
Even if you imagine doubling his thirteen away home runs to 26 that’s still pretty good. And it’s not only Hoskins’ raw power that stands out, he excels in every aspect at the plate. Through single A and A+ in 2015, Hoskins carried an OBP of .395 while hitting 17 home runs. In 2016 Hoskins went for more power in Reading to get to his 38 bombs, but he still had a .377 OBP. He’s not just swinging at anything at the plate. He has the patience to walk five times in a single game. Hoskins also has great splits against lefties and righties, hitting .282 against righties, and a lower .277 against lefties but with more power.
Unfortunately Hoskins is fairly limited to first base. This looked fine up in the majors with Ryan Howard departing until the emergence of Tommy Joseph. Still, we’ll have to see if Joseph can stay there in 2017. Talent will find a way, even if it’s not with the Phillies. Perhaps Hoskins could be traded to the AL someday where he could benefit from the DH position as well. He’ll be turning 24 years-old in March and we’ve still yet to see what he can do Triple-A, but I believe we’ll be hearing more Bob Marley somewhere in the bigs in no time.
There are plenty of reasons to doubt, sure, but I believe Hoskins has a great combination of plate discipline and power that will help him as he grows and faces tougher pitching. Despite the skepticism, I think he’s worth taking a chance on. After all, life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.