Rhys is pronounced Reese.
In 2011, Rhys graduated from Jesuit High School in Sacramento, California. Rhys hit .441 his junior season. And .304 with 17 runs, 22 RBIs, two doubles and three home runs as a senior. Rhys accepted a baseball scholarship to Sacramento State. He majored in business administration.
In 2012, he was a Baseball America freshman all-American at Sacramento. And as a junior, he hit .319/.428/.573.
In the summer of 2013, Hoskins played for the Falmouth Commodores of the Cape Cod League.
Hoskins was born and raised in Sacramento. His father Paul is a civil attorney and a lifelong Willie Mays fan. His mother Cathy, also an attorney, was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1995 and died from the disease in 2009, when Rhys was 16 and a sophomore in high school.
Hoskins has a younger sister named Meloria, so his parents were partial to creative thinking. While his name encompasses only four letters and one syllable, he’s accustomed to hearing it mangled on a routine basis.
“I really get anything you can think of,” Hoskins said. “I get ‘Rice’ a lot. I get ‘Rise’ a lot. And surprisingly, I hear ‘Ryan’ a lot. In school, we used to go in alphabetical order, and I would just raise my hand and say, ‘It’s (pronounced) ‘Reese.’’’
Hoskins played baseball, basketball and football for Jesuit High in Carmichael, Calif., and refrained from the baseball showcase circuit. He took his 4.0 grade point average to Sacramento State when the Hornets showed lots of early interest and the power conferences never called.
Hoskins was named Western Athletic Conference player of the year as a junior and signed with the Phillies for $349,000 as a fifth-round pick in the 2014 draft.
It dawned on him that he might have a future in pro ball when he hit .326 in the 2013 Cape Cod League against bigger-named competition. (Jerry Crasnick - ESPN.com - October 2017)
Rhys has a solid work ethic and is very mature, beyond his years. And he is very humble.
- In 2014, Hoskins got drafted by the Phillies (see Transactions below).
In 2016, the Baseball America Prospect Handbook rated Hoskins as the 23rd-best prospect in the Phillies organization. They moved Rhys up to #6 in the winter before 2017 spring training.
In 2016, Hoskins and Dylan Cozens shared the organization's Paul Owens Award for its Minor League Player of the Year.
Rhys ranked fourth in the Eastern League in 2016 with a.377 on-base percentage and second in both slugging (.566) and home runs (38) in 2016 for Reading.
Rhys has an impeccable work ethic.
In 2017, Rhys represented the Phillies in the All-Star Futures game.
Triple-A Lehigh Valley manager Dusty Wathan wanted to talk to a Major Leaguer. So, after the IronPigs game on July 9, 2017, he pulled Rhys into his office. Hoskins had just hit his International League-leading 29th homer.
"Sit down," Wathan told Hoskins. "I want to have a conversation with a big leaguer."
With those words, the most sought-after man in the Delaware Valley packed his things, called some loved ones, and set off for Philadelphia, where he would make his debut against the Mets.
At the plate, Hoskins went 0-for-2 with a walk. "It was exciting," he said. "Didn't go as well as I had hoped, but that's baseball." (Harris - mlb.com - 8/10/17)
August 2017: Hoskins was named the International League MVP and Rookie of the Year awards.
Hoskins set Major League Baseball on fire as a rookie in 2017, putting on a show with 18 home runs in his first 50 games. And yet, the slugger knows there's no time for a victory lap as he looks to build on his success into 2018 and beyond. The 24-year-old has been putting in the work in the weight room and the video room in preparation for his first full year in the big leagues.
Hoskins, who was the 2017 International League Rookie of the Year and MVP, and finished fourth in the National League Rookie of the Year voting largely because of his offensive performance, stressed earlier this offseason the importance of improving defensively as well.
"This game is a game where you're always improving on something, always working," Hoskins said. "My defense is something that I really try to pride myself on. I've improved a whole lot from the time I got to pro ball to now and that has a lot to do with the consistent work that goes on before games and in the offseason. There's always room for improvement."
Hoskins' work ethic has new manager Gabe Kapler excited about his ability to lead a young Phillies team as it continues to progress, despite Hoskins having just 53 days of Major League service time under his belt. The Phillies have been in the midst of a rebuild for the past few seasons, but Hoskins' rapid maturation has the club eyeing to compete in the NL East as soon as this year. Philadelphia was 42-69 when the club promoted Hoskins on Aug. 10. They went 24-27 from that point on.
"He doesn't need any more success," Kapler told MLB.com. "It's not about being the veteran guy. That's not what it's about. He is a leader by example, by the way he carries himself, by the way he thinks and by the way he talks. And it doesn't have to be vocal 'rah-rah' in front of the group. It's a very unique package, one that I'm not sure I've ever seen."
In 2017, Hoskins' 1.014 on-base plus slugging percentage ranked second among all MLB rookies, behind only AL Rookie of the Year Aaron Judge. And it's intriguing to think of the type of year he could have following a full offseason of intense training. But he remains focused, thinking more about how he can help the Phillies return to contention. Said Hoskins: "Hopefully sometime soon we're worrying about how to play into October." (O Macklin - MLB.com - Dec 26, 2017)
March 23, 2018: Phillies jerseys spotted across baseball the past few seasons—not only at Citizens Bank Park but everywhere in Philly—have been reminders of a celebrated and not-so-distant past. Lots of jerseys with Jimmy Rollins' name on the back. Lots of Utley and Howard and Hamels and Halladay and Lee.
Phillies left fielder Rhys Hoskins captured the imagination of Phils fans the final two months of the 2017 season. It is not unusual to see Hoskins jerseys scattered among the Rollins, Utley, Howard, Hamels and Halladay ones this spring at Spectrum Field. Hoskins made such an impact that he finished fourth for the National League Rookie of the Year Award, behind Cody Bellinger (132 games), Paul DeJong (108) and Josh Bell (159). The national media, which typically only visited Philadelphia the past few years to see the visiting team, popped into the home clubhouse to see Hoskins.
"First of all, I think it's really cool that that's even a thought," Hoskins said about being the emerging face of the franchise and the player to watch this season. "Amongst the media, amongst the fans, even people in the organization, I think that's very humbling. It's a cool place to be. Obviously, it's a great sports city. Just to be associated with that is something that's really cool. But I think there are going to be a lot of faces of this team, this franchise."
Hoskins will face challenges this season. He will be playing left field full time after the Phils signed first baseman Carlos Santana to a three-year, $60 million contract. Hoskins' defense remains a work in progress. "I don't know if I'm ever going to go, 'Oh, there it is,'" Hoskins said. "I think it's just going to be one of those things I'm just going to have to continue to work on, probably throughout my career, and that's OK."
But Hoskins' money maker is his bat. If he produces offensively, adequate defense will be fine. People are excited about Hoskins because he is a power hitter blessed with a fantastic eye. He walked 37 times and struck out 46 times in 212 plate appearances last season.
Hoskins knows pitchers will adjust. Hoskins hit .314 (37-for-118) with four doubles, 18 homers, 39 RBIs, 26 walks, 27 strikeouts and a 1.247 OPS in his first 34 games. Statcast™ heat maps showed pitchers throwing a steady diet of pitches low and away to him the rest of the season. He hit .135 (7-for-52) with three doubles, nine RBIs, 11 walks, 19 strikeouts and a .485 OPS in his final 16 games.
Hoskins believes he will make any necessary adjustments this year. He also will be ready for a 162-game season. He acknowledged he tired at the end of last year.
"The biggest thing is knowing what I do well," Hoskins said. "Obviously, we're going to know what the pitcher does well, but we're going to try to stick to that. If we're forced to make an adjustment on the fly or in the middle of a series, then we'll do that. It's a part of the game.
"Especially now with the way baseball is going and all the information that we have, that's stuff that we can be prepared for a lot quicker, a lot earlier. I think the adjustments, because of all the information, the adjustments can be made on the fly." (T Zolecki - MLB.com - March 23, 2018)
June 12, 2018: Hoskins designs New Era baseball cap.
In a series opener against the Rockies, the Phillies were forced to wear their usual alternate cream-colored day uniforms due to the non-delivery of 1B/OF Rhys Hoskins' double-flapped red helmet, which helps prevent re-injury to his recently fractured jaw. The Phillies could have worn their usual white home uniform with red pinstripes, but were at risk of the Rockies protesting the game for Hoskins being out of uniform with his blue double-flapped helmet, according to The Athletic's Matt Gelb.
It is only fitting that less than 24 hours later after the equipment blunder, the 25-year-old, Sacramento, California, native designed his own New Era baseball cap. The Phillies Instagram account shared pictures from Hoskins' earlier cap design meeting with New Era. Hoskins appeared to have a variety of color palettes and logo options to choose from.
It is not clear if the cap will be used in-game, such as in a 2018 return of MLB Players Weekend, which last season allowed major leaguers to "let their personalities and passions shine" via nicknames displayed on the back of their jerseys.
July 2018: Hoskins participated in the All-Star Home Run Derby.
November 2018: Hoskins represented MLB in the All-Star Tour in Japan.
Nov 9, 2018: In sports, it's normally the adults who preach about sportsmanship and fair play, while it's up to the kids to absorb that information and hopefully take it to the field with them with an intent to do things the right way. But at the Tokyo Dome, the tables were turned, and the players on both sides of the diamond participating in the Japan All-Star Series were making a promise to the kids to behave themselves.
"The symmetry, the full-circle moment of how they're trying to get where we are and now we're saying what they usually say to us," Hoskins said. "It was a really cool moment."
Just before first pitch of the 7-6 walk-off win by Samurai Japan over the MLB All-Stars, both teams took a "Players Oath," pledging integrity and sportsmanship. In front of a sold-out Tokyo Dome. And more significantly, to 50 youth baseball participants who were invited on to the field to hear the pledge. One representative from each team recited the pledge in his native language. (A Footer - MLB.com - Nov 9, 2018)
Nov. 9, 2019: The Phillies first baseman is now a married man. Hoskins posted a picture on his Instagram after getting married in Lake Tahoe. “Cheers to forever, Mrs. Hoskins,” the caption read.
Hoskins was good in 2020. You might not have noticed because he got off to a dismal start, hitting only .172 in his first 10 games.
Or, you might not have noticed because his season ended on an equally disappointing note. He hit a measly .186 over his final 10 games, before missing the final weeks of the season with a shoulder injury.
Or, you might not have noticed because, for the first time since 2011, the Phillies actually had an above-average offense. With strong offensive years from Bryce Harper, J.T. Realmuto, Alec Bohm and Didi Gregorius, it’s not surprising that Hoskins’ performance slipped under the radar.
Injured for one-third of the season? Downright bad for another one-third? Overshadowed by other hitters on his own team?
Ahh . . . but here’s where it gets fun. For 22 games in the middle of the season, Hoskins hit like Barry Bonds.
Compare these two mystery players for a moment:
Player A slashed .298/.444/.607 and averaged a home run every 16.5 PA. Player B slashed .321/.440/.679 and averaged a home run every 14.3 PA. Player A is Bonds over his entire career. Player B is Hoskins from August 9 to September 3.
Hoskins was so good over that stretch of games that it makes up for his poor start and finish to the season. Over Hoskins’ hot surge, the Phillies went 14-8, good for a .636 winning percentage. Remember that blissful period of the season when the Phillies won 10 out of 11 games? We have Hoskins to thank for that.
If you look at his overall batting line, 2020 was Hoskins’ best season since the 50 games he played as a rookie in 2017. He finished 2020 with a .245/.384/.503 batting line and 10 HR (that would put him on pace for 39 HR in a full season.)
His wRC+ was 139, meaning that Hoskins created runs at a rate of 39% better than league average. That’s very good. If Hoskins had enough PA to qualify, that number would have placed him in the top 20 in the NL and 4th among NL first basemen.
Even though his season had its ups and downs, it ultimately averaged out to a very solid offensive year. It seems like that’s just who Hoskins is — a streaky hitter. It’s been the case for his entire career. (Leo Morgenstern - Oct. 2020)
- June 2014: Hoskins signed with the Phillies when they made him their 5th round pick, out of California State-Sacramento. His bonus was $349,700, via scout Joey Davis.
- Jan 15, 2021: The Phillies avoided arbitration with Hoskins agreeing to a one-year contract for $4.8 million.
|Birth City:||Sacramento, CA|
|Draft:||Phillies #5 - 2014 - Out of Cal. State-Sacramento|
Hoskins has a powerful righthanded swing. He can hit the ball a long way.
Rhys faces some skepticism as a righthanded hitting first baseman. His bat is the deciding factor. He has a real good feel for the strike zone, drawing a lot of walks to go with a 50 grade hit tool. Those who like Hoskins see a hitter with plus power, a sound swing path, good timing, the bat speed to catch up to quality fastballs, and a smart plan at the plate. His power comes with some strikeouts, but he doesn’t swing and miss excessively. And he is a patient hitter who walked 12 percent of the time in 2016.
Hoskins' doubters think he’s more of a mistake hitter who has a longer swing with stiffness and holes that better pitchers will exploit.
But one thing is for sure, Rhys has excellent strike zone judgment. (Spring, 2017)
Hoskins added a leg kick to his setup at the plate and he took to it well.
The advanced timing in his load alleviated previous concerns he would only be a mistake hitter. His power should play as plus-plus because he drives the ball to all fields. (Spring, 2018)
Rhys has a lot going for him—plus power, great approach at the plate, and good contact skills,
And he has a knack for driving in runs.
“He looks like he has a chance to be a good hitter,” Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said after watching Hoskins early in 2017 spring camp. “We were told he has a good idea at the plate and that’s what it looks like.”
Hoskins displays plus bat speed (60 grade power) with quiet hands and moderate barrel control. He has a leveraged swing with good extension. His back shoulder will drop occasionally, but his hips torque without leaking. He's added the leg kick with moderate load. He stays balanced and recognizes ball spin.
He has raw power, that is going to grade out at 60. (June, 2015)
Minor league first baseman know the drill: If they want to advance, then they must hit, and hit a ton. Hoskins did just that in his first full season in 2015, batting .319/.395/.518 with 17 home runs and 90 RBI in 135 games at low Class-A Lakewood and high Class-A Clearwater.
The Phillies credit Hoskins' success, in part to a solid approach at the plate. (Spring 2016)
Hoskins has become a very productive hitter.
Rhys picked up a leg kick from minor league hitting instructor Andy Tracy as a timing mechanism and learned how to dissect pitchers and develop a consistent game plan at the plate with help from Double-A Reading hitting coach Frank Cacciatore.
The mechanical changes paid immediate dividends.
"Rhys is a good hitter . . . and he's always been a good hitter," IronPigs manager Dusty Wathan said in 2017. "Also, there are guys who can translate gap power [into home runs], and I think Rhys has been able to do that as he's gone up the ladder.
"Last year (2016) I saw him work into a good count, then really drive a pitch. But on the flip side, he may get into a tough count, but he'll show you how good a hitter he is by keeping his hands back and barreling up a tough pitch for a single.
"He can control his swing when he gets aggressive," Wathan continued. "Rhys has the ability to be short to the ball and be aggressive swinging at a strike while laying off the pitches that are not strikes."
Asked if he focused more on power or average, Rhys chose both.
"I like to be a hitter first," Hoskins said. "I think I have always been more of a doubles guy, and I'm starting to learn how to tap into some power.
"I'm not trying to hit home runs by any means. I am trying to drive the ball, and if it goes out, great. But nobody ever got into trouble for leading the league in doubles, either."
"You never want to strike out, but it's going to happen. It's part of the game," Hoskins said. "But one thing I'm learning this season is about becoming more comfortable [batting] with two strikes.
"I think I'm picking up rather quickly on what pitchers are trying to do, but more adjustments will have to be made—that's baseball."
OFF TO VERY FAST START
August 24, 2017: Rhys hit his eighth homer in a loss to the Marlins at Citizens Bank Park. It tied Carlos Delgado (1993-94) and Trevor Story (2016) for the most homers through a player's first 15 games, according to Baseball Reference.
Hoskins also is one of just three players to hit eight homers within his first 50 career at-bats, according to Elias Sports Bureau. He hit his eighth in his 49th at-bat. He joins Trey Mancini (8 homers in 47 at-bats) and Delgado (8 homers in 48 at-bats).
"He's a professional hitter," Phillies pitcher Jake Thompson said. "He never really seems to have bad at-bats. He makes adjustments pitch-to-pitch, and that's what good hitters do." (Zolecki - mlb.com)
Aug 25, 2017: Is this incredible or what?
Rhys Hoskins crushed his ninth home run of the season in the first inning of the 7-1 victory over the Cubs at Citizens Bank Park. He is the fastest player in baseball history to hit nine home runs, needing only 54 at-bats to do it, according to Elias Sports Bureau. He is the first player since at least 1913 to hit nine homers in his first 16 career games.
Hoskins' 21 RBIs in his first 16 career games rank third in baseball since at least 1913. The Cubs' Mandy Brooks had 24 RBIs in 1925 and the Reds' Jim Greengrass had 22 in 1952.
"I don't know if it's hit me yet," Hoskins said. "It's pretty cool to be mentioned in a sentence about first ever or tied for whatever in MLB history. This game has been going on for hundreds of years, and it's a huge thing. It's an American sport, it really is, so to be mentioned in that definitely an honor. But I don't know if it's hit me yet."
"He just gives you quality at-bats," Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said. "That's what we're looking for. We talked over the winter about getting professional hitters. He looks like a professional hitter." Professional hitters try to keep things simple. Hoskins said he is keeping things the same these days, which is not unusual for baseball players.
Routines are important. "I do little things that I think might come off as superstitious, but it gets me in a state of mind where I'm comfortable, whether it's before the game or in the on-deck circle or when I step in the box," Hoskins said. "It's a sense of familiarity, and in this game, it's one less thing that you have to worry about."
Hoskins' routines include putting on his left sock first and going through the same routine every time he steps into the batter's box and in between pitches. But he doesn't get too crazy, like eating the same meal before every game.
"No, no," he said. "We're pretty blessed with the food we get to eat. I have to take advantage of that." (T Zolecki - MLB.com - Aug 26, 2017)
Hoskins' 11th homer came in the 18th Major League game of his career, an MLB record dating back to at least 1913. No player had ever hit 11 in even their first 22 games, let alone their first 18.
According to Elias, he'd reached the 11-homer threshold in 17 fewer at-bats than any player in history. Hoskins is lapping the competition with all of two weeks' experience facing big league pitching. (Harris - mlb.com - 8/27/17)
September 12, 2017: Rhys ripped his 15th and 16th home runs of the season in the Phillies' 9-8 victory over the Marlins in 15 innings at Citizens Bank Park. He became the fastest player on record to hit 16 home runs, hitting that mark in just 32 career games. Wally Berger held the previous mark, hitting 16 homers in his first 41 games in 1930.
Hoskins' 34 RBIs are tied for third in a player's first 32 games. Ted Williams had 36 RBIs in his first 32 games in 1939. Albert Pujols had 35 RBIs in his first 32 games in 2001. Williams and Pujols, then Hoskins. Not a bad list.
"My biggest disappointment was that Hoskins didn't hit his third home run to win the game," Phillies manager Pete Mackanin joked. "That kind of disappointed me." (Zolecki - mlb.com)
September 13, 2017: Hoskins hit yet another home run. It was his 17th of the season in just 33 games.
Hoskins is now fastest player in baseball history to hit 17 career homers. The old record — 42 games — was held by Boston Braves outfielder Wally Berger, set in 1930. (Craig Calcaterra-NBC Sports)
September 14, 2017: Rhys hit his 18th home run of the season in a 10-0 win over the Marlins at Citizens Bank Park. Hoskins is the fastest player in MLB history to hit 18 homers, needing only 34 games to do it. Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez had been the previous fastest, hitting his 18th and 19th homers in his 45th career game.
Hoskins is doing more than just homering. He has 39 RBIs. Nobody has ever had more through their first 34 games. Albert Pujols, Joe DiMaggio, Ted Williams, and Zeke Bonura are tied for second with 37.
April 7, 2019: Hoskins dissected the moments that led to his game-winning, two-run home run in the sixth inning at Citizens Bank Park. He sported a red T-shirt in the Phillies’ clubhouse with “Barreldelphia” in Phillies-style script over a blue silhouette of Philadelphia’s skyline.
“Barreldelphia” is becoming a thing. Phillies catcher Andrew Knapp coined the word in a tweet following an 8-6 victory over the Braves on March 30. And teammate Jake Arrieta made up T-shirts.
At first base, Rhys is only adequate defensively, a 45 or 50 grade.
Hoskins has plus arm strength (50 grade), but that is not an asset as a first baseman. (June 2016)
He still has a way to go defensively at first base. Scouts see poor range and slow-twitch athleticism with a stiff body and actions, all of which hinders his playability at any other position than first base.
But by 2017, Hoskins, though he has no appreciable agility, has improved to become adequate. And he has good hands. That season, Hoskins began playing the outfield for the Phillies.
As if Rhys hadn't been doing enough offensively to start his historic career in 2017, his defense ignited a game-turning triple play in the fifth inning of a 6-3 win over the Cubs at Citizens Bank Park.
With runners on first and second, Hoskins broke in hard on a Javier Baez liner to left, sliding to make the catch just inches above the grass before fumbling the ball on the transfer. Both Cubs runners—Anthony Rizzo from second and Tommy La Stella from first—had reacted to the sinking, top-spinning liner and broke for the next base. Hoskins picked up the ball and fired it to Cesar Hernandez at second, and Hernandez then relayed the ball to first, completing the Phils' first triple play since Aug. 7, 2016. (Harris - mlb.com - 8/27/17)
In 2017 and 2018 with the Phils, Hoskins played both first base and left field.
But from 2019 to 2022, he played first base exclusively. (Baseball-Reference.com - Oct 2022)
- Hoskins is a below-average runner, with a 35 grade for his speed (or lack of it).
May 29-June 9, 2018: A CT scan revealed a fractured jaw after he fouled a pitch off his face the day before. Hoskins flew to Philadelphia to see a specialist to determine whether Hoskins needs surgery.
March 19, 2019: Hoskins said there is no reason to worry, but he is battling “mild” soreness in his left shoulder. “It’s a little sore, there’s a little inflammation,” he said.
He said he first felt something after taking an awkward swing. But an MRI exam showed no structural damage.
Sept. 14-28, 2020: The Phillies placed Hoskins on the 10-day injured list with a left UCL injury.
Oct. 2, 2020: Hoskins had successful surgery to repair the ulnar collateral ligament in his left elbow (non-throwing arm). Hoskins is expected to be ready to play in four to six months, between February and April 2021. Phillies physician Steve Cohen performed the procedure, which was not Tommy John surgery.
Hoskins injured his non-throwing elbow on Sept. 12, 2020 in Miami, when he collided with Marlins outfielder Corey Dickerson on a play at first base.
Feb 24, 2021: Hoskins launched a few home runs during a couple rounds of batting practice during the Phillies’ first full-squad workout. It felt pretty good because Hoskins had surgery to repair a torn ligament in his left elbow in October 2020. He passed a final defensive test, which had him diving for baseballs. And so received medical clearance. (Editor's note: Hoskins was the April 1 Opening Day lineup vs. the Braves.)
Aug 7-22, 2021: Hoskins was on the IL with left groin strain.
Aug 14, 2021: He originally injured himself diving for a ball on July 29 against Washington. He missed three games, then played in a four-game series in Washington before needing to pull back because the groin continued to bother him. Hoskins had a cortisone injection in the groin “to kind of help speed the process up,” he said. But he believes the end is near.
“Better every day,” Hoskins said. “Definitely less sore each day, which is always good. Getting to do more and more just from the rehab side every day. It's still kind of one of those things where you're waking up, seeing how it responded the previous day."
- Aug 26, 2021: Hoskins was back on the IL with a left groin strain.