First baseman Rhys Hoskins was selected by the Phillies in the 5th round of last year’s amateur draft. After debuting as a pro, the six-foot-four 225-pounder showed some nice pop, slugging nine homers while lacing 15 doubles and driving in 40 runs to go along with his .237 average over 70 games with short-season Class A Williamsport.
Thus far this season, through seven games with Class A Lakewood, the California State University-Sacramento product sports a .261 average with two doubles and two RBI.
Last week I spoke with the 22-year-old about adjusting to the minor leagues straight out of collegiate ball. Hoskins also scouted himself, offered some thoughts on the BlueClaws’ excitement level for a new season and proudly showed off his (limited) knowledge of Phillies history.
Read ahead for those interview excerpts from Rhys.
-How do you feel college ball prepared you for the minors?
I mean it did. It just taught me about the game itself. You know, obviously, the more you play, the better you get. So, I definitely wasn’t ready to play pro baseball out of high school and just getting to learn the ins and outs, the way you have to think, has really prepared me for right now.
-You posted some good power numbers, but your average wasn’t gleaming last year. What was the adjustment period like for you?
It definitely was not easy by any means. It was about as I expected. I think the biggest thing to get used to was just playing every day. And then, obviously, with the traveling- traveling through the night and that sort of thing. Probably, the biggest transition was, facing the quote-unquote “Friday night guy” in college, you face that guy every single night (in the pros). And then you get to the bullpen and face a guy that throws harder. And the next guy throws harder than that. So, it definitely wasn’t an easy transition. I think, as a competitor, I was just trying to compete and, you know, the season, stat-wise, didn’t go the way I wanted it to, but the power numbers were there and I think that’s why I’m here, so I am satisfied with that. We’ll see if (I) can get better this year and we’ll see what happens.
-If you were going to scout yourself on the field, what would you tell me?
I’d say, I have plus power. Hit tool is there. I just need to get more at bats and get more consistent with it. I think I’m an above average defender, getting better every day. Probably a little quicker than people give me credit for. I’m a first baseman, (people) probably don’t think I’m that much of an athlete. I like to think I am at least. So, yeah, that’s what I would say.
-When you’re drafted into an organization that you didn’t follow growing up, is there any sort of urgency or responsibility to study up on the team that you’re going to sign with?
I mean, a little bit. I’m a pretty big sports fan in general, so I know enough to kind of, I guess, get by. That type of thing. Um, you know, Mike Schmidt, yada yada yada. Chase Utley, the last couple years, Ryan Howard did his thing, 2008, all that. So, I follow sports enough.
-What is the excitement level for the BlueClaws team here, as you guys get this new season rolling?
We’ve got an incredible group here. The chemistry seems unbelievable and we’ve been here what? (A few) days? Obviously, it started in spring training and some of us played together last year. But, we’re really excited, it’s going to be fun baseball. We can hit. We can run. We can pitch the ball, so I think it’s going to be a great year!