Rhys “The Beast” Hoskins has had a roller coaster of a season. After a stretch in which he was arguably the best hitter in baseball, it seemed like the only thing he could hit was the skids. The days turned to weeks and still there was no end in sight for the slump. Adding injury to insult – he took a foul ball off the chin on May 28th, which caused a fracture and forced him onto the DL. When it rains, it pours.
On June 9th, Hoskins returned ahead of schedule- with a new look to boot.
What happens when you add 10 days of rust to a fractured chin and a month-long slump? Magic, apparently.
Hoskins has been on an absolute tear since his return from the DL – perhaps even better now than he was to start the season. I’ve split his season so far into three parts: pre-slump, slump, and post-slump.
By results, Hoskins has been just as productive now as he was to start off the season. He’s striking out at a season-low rate, and his slugging percentage is off the charts. His wRC+ is back up to the MVP-level it was to start the season – but it’s how he’s doing it that’s so encouraging.
His pre-slump BABIP was, quite simply, unsustainable. Regardless of the quality of contact, no player runs that high of a BABIP over a full season. At the end of April, Rhys’s luck ran out and then some – his BABIP took a precipitous fall, and he began to press (as evidenced by the higher swing rate). In his return from the DL, he retained the higher swing rate – but coupled it with a higher contact rate. That means less “swing-and-miss”, which is by all accounts the worse kind of swing. His BABIP rebounded to a reasonable .280, which indicates his current production isn’t being fueled by batted ball luck. Talking about batted balls…
He’s hitting the ball hard. He’s barreling the ball up better. His xBA is the highest it’s been all season, and he isn’t getting horrendously unlucky like he was during the slump. In short – he’s crushing the ball and the results reflect that fact. Then again, I could be overthinking this. After all, Rhys has a different take on the situation.
Biweekly Record: 7-6
Standout Hitter: Rhys Hoskins. Scroll up if you need to refresh your memory on why Hoskins deserves this. What a beast.
Standout Pitcher: Edubray Ramos. Despite popular opinion, the brilliant Seranthony Dominguez isn’t the only dependable arm in the bullpen. Over the past two weeks, Ramos has pitched 7.0 innings, struck out 7, walked 1, and allowed 0 runs. This lowers his season ERA to 0.64(!!!). With the rest of the bullpen in disarray, it’s good to know the Phillies have a couple of shutdown relievers they can turn to when the game is on the line.
Sit-Down Hitter: Aaron Altherr. Since my last post, Altherr has cobbled together 3 hits. One of them was a walk off double over the Cards, and two of them came in their most recent series, so…corner turned?
Sit-Down Pitcher: Hector Neris. Do I even need to type something here? He was so bad that they demoted him and replaced him with Martin Thomas, a player so anonymous you didn’t even realize that his name is actually Austin Davis.