Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Prospect Nation 2016: #14 1B Rhys Hoskins

Rhys Hoskins, image- Jay Floyd

First baseman Rhys Hoskins made significant impressions in his first full season as a pro in 2015. With a powerful bat and a great approach at the plate, the righty hitting slugger could be on a fast pace toward the upper levels of the sport.

A product of Cal State- Sacramento, Hoskins tallied a .319 average with 25 home runs and 128 RBI in 168 college games prior to turning pro.

Drafted by the Phillies as a 5th round selection in 2014, Hoskins made his minor league debut as a member of the Class A short-season Williamsport Crosscutters. In 70 games there, the California native posted a .237 average with nine homers and 40 RBI. He was said to have hit better there than his numbers would show, as he hit into a lot of hard outs and lacked luck at the plate.

He would spend time at the Florida Instructional League following the regular season. It was there that coaches implemented a leg kick as a timing mechanism, to assist with Hoskins' efforts at the plate. It worked very well and the proof was in the numbers to come.

After a strong spring, Hoskins would open his 2015 campaign with Class A Lakewood. In 68 games for the BlueClaws, the 22-year-old put together a .322/.397/.525 slash line en route to being named a South Atlantic League All-Star and earned a promotion.

At the time of the move, Hoskins led or was near the top of the Sally League in many statistical categories including hits, OPS and RBI.

After moving up to Class A Advanced Clearwater, Hoskins would notch a .317/.394/.510 slash line in 67 games for the Threshers.

This off-season, Hoskins is playing with Sydney in the Australian Baseball League. Through 44 regular season games, Hoskins sported a .324 batting average with eight home runs, 38 RBI and a .944 OPS.

Hoskins impressed coaches last year with his outstanding pitch selection. He doesn't swing at many bad pitches. The youngster sports above average bat speed and can really drive the ball to the opposite field. He is just a flat out impressive hitter. Hoskins touts more power than nearly everyone on this list, with the exception of outfielder Nick Williams, whose entry is still to come on this countdown. Please excuse that spoiler.

Speed is not a factor on the field for Hoskins. The six-foot-four 225-pounder has been successful in seven of 14 steal attempts in his young career and is a typical power hitting big man in that regard.

On the defensive side of the game, Hoskins has very good reaction time and solid range to handle batted balls at first base.

There likely won't be many other lists ranking Hoskins as highly as I've placed him in the Phils system. I do however feel his bat is among the best the team has in their lower levels.

With the organization having a need for a slugging first baseman in the big leagues, they'll hope Hoskins can continue to progress at a consistent pace as he moves up the developmental ladder. His ceiling is as an everyday middle of the lineup RBI guy in the majors.

Hoskins should get some time in the coming season at the Double-A level. It's unclear if he would open the season there, but another hot spring could lock up that assignment in the early going for him.

Follow this year's full prospect countdown by clicking this link.

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