Opinion

Reacting to Tommy Joseph’s poor start and Rhys Hoskins’ hot bat

Minor League Headshots

It has been long documented, especially here at Phillies Nation, that much of this season was going to be a let’s-see-what-happens-with-what-we-got season. While the IronPigs are stocked with potential future stars, the Phillies are in a position where they can continue to let prospects develop instead of rushing them up to the big leagues before they’re ready.

Well, we’re 12 games in and chatter has already begun about when the Phillies should start turning over the roster. It was expected. What wasn’t expected are the loudest rumblings aren’t about No. 1 prospect J.P. Crawford. Or even Nick Williams or Dylan Cozens. They’re about first baseman Rhys Hoskins.

To say Tommy Joseph has had a slow start to the season is an understatement. In 10 games he’s hitting just .156/.200/.281 with one home run, four RBI, and two walks. This is coming off a season where he basically came out of nowhere and shocked the Phillies by hitting .257/.308/.505 with 21 homers and 47 RBI in 107 games.

With Ryan Howard officially out of the picture, the thought heading into 2017 was that it was Joseph’s job to lose.

So, has he lost it already? The answer should be no.

Sure, the Phillies have been burned in the past by letting players get second and third and fourth chances (ahem, Domonic Brown and Darin Ruf). This is different. First, the season is only two weeks young. The odds of Joseph continuing to play this poorly going forward are slim. He still has to prove that he is more than just a platoon hitter, but even his numbers against righties are better than what he’s hitting now. In 2016 he hit .281/.350/.562 against lefties and hit just .248/.291/.482 against righties.

The rest of the lineup isn’t exactly hitting the cover off the ball either, especially the hitters batting in front of and behind Joseph. He, Maikel Franco and Michael Saunders are a combined 22-for-111 with just eight extra base hits and 23 strikeouts.

Joseph is clearly struggling to build on his 2016 success. Meanwhile in Lehigh Valley, Hoskins is picking up exactly where he left off. The 24-year-old right-hander is hitting .324/.452/.676 with three home runs, seven RBIs and seven walks. Last season Hoskins hit .281/.377/.566 with 38 home runs in Reading and impressed Phillies brass in his limited at-bats in spring training.

If Hoskins keeps this level of play up while Joseph fails to improve, it’s fair to say we’ll be seeing Hoskins in 2018, if not sooner. It’s not fair, however, to pull the plug on Joseph just yet. It took Joseph a trade, five concussions and a position change to reach the big leagues. He deserves more than a couple of months to show he belongs.

4 Comments

4 Comments

  1. joseph goldberg

    April 18, 2017 at 8:08 am

    It is way too early to pull the plug on Joseph, but he could be pushed by Hoskins. The same thing is true about Saunders if Nick Williams gets hot. I think that Joseph should sit against more RH starters, if not be in a straight platoon situation with Stassi…at least for a while. It gives both players their best chance to begin hitting more, and the team a better chance to assess Brock as well.

    • Jaron B

      April 18, 2017 at 8:25 am

      Saunders is a stopgap for Williams where as Joseph & Stassi are surprises that don’t have to stick. First base is a good position to fill in via FA. Or, better yet, Hskins comes up and sticks. I’m also hoping Herrera and Altherr stick and we see Cozens & Crawford come to fruition. Furthermore, the whole middle of the order can’t (for the future’s sakes) falter – someone (Franco?!!!) has to stick for the next few years.

  2. denzen

    April 18, 2017 at 5:42 pm

    Little off topic but I noticed that after 2 starts in Clearwater, Franklyn Kilome is now at Williamsport. I have not seen any news about it. Any info anyone can share.?

    • denzen

      April 21, 2017 at 3:03 pm

      Franklyn Kilome pitched and won for Clearwater yesterday. So I guess his “trip” to Williamsport was just some sort of roster jockeying. Glad to see.

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