Fully rehabbed, Rhys Hoskins is ready to be the Phillies’ difference maker

When Rhys Hoskins first debuted for the Philadelphia Phillies back in 2017, it looked like the organization had found themselves the second coming of Ryan Howard. Hoskins launched 18 home runs in just 50 games, finishing his rookie season with an OPS just north of 1.000.

However, despite the scorching hot start to his career that Rhys experienced, the slugger failed to ever really duplicate it. He finished the 2018 and 2019 seasons with OPS’s in the .800 range, really leaving a bad taste in everyone’s mouth during the second half of the 2019 season. Hoskins went on a freezing cold run after the All-Star break, hitting just .180 during the second half of the season.

It’s hard to say that Hoskins was “bad” in 2018 and 2019 (an .800+ OPS is nothing to scoff at), however there was always a sense of untapped potential when it came to Rhys following that initial rookie season. The hope was that Hoskins would develop into an All-Star caliber talent, especially following the additions of Bryce Harper and J.T. Realmuto to the lineup.

Prior to his UCL injury that he suffered late in the season, Hoskins was well on his way to getting to that All-Star level of productivity during the 2020 season. Primarily due to a strong run of games towards the end of the summer, Hoskins finished 2020 with an .887 OPS – his highest total since the 2017 season.

Hoskins’ season ultimately ended due to a UCL injury, an injury that would require surgery during the offseason. There were some initial fears that Hoskins would miss the 2021 opener, but Rhys returned rather rapidly. He was healthy and active for Spring Training, and easily made his way into the Phillies Opening Day lineup.

Phillies’ Rhys Hoskins is off to a hot start this season.

Fully rehabbed and in his athletic prime, it appears Hoskins is finally ready to blossom into the type of offensive weapon that fans of the team always envisioned him turning out to be. Through six games and 24 at-bats, Hoskins has 10 hits, six doubles, four RBIs, and a 1.208 OPS. His offensive prowess was a big reason the team swept the Braves to kick off the season, and an even bigger reason the Phillies were able to win the series against a new-look Mets squad.

Obviously Hoskins won’t keep up this type of form for the entirety of the season, but it’s reasonable to assume that he can finish the year with an OPS in the .900+ range. He’s set to see a ton of hittable pitches with Harper, Realmuto, Bohm, and Gregorius all batting directly after him in the lineup, and he’s clearly started to re-find his swing following a few shaky years under the Klentak/Kapler regime.

Is Hoskins a guy who will give you 40+ home runs every year like we all initially thought in 2017? No, probably not. Is he a player who can give you 75+ RBIs while working plenty of walks? Absolutely. And ultimately speaking, that’s all the Phillies need out of Hoskins moving forward.

With so much power behind Hoskins in the lineup, the Phillies don’t necessarily need him to be some sort of “Ryan Howard 2.0”, they just need him to be an above average 2-hole hitter. If he can do that, he’ll end up being the type of offensive difference maker that launches a team into the postseason.