First baseman Rhys Hoskins garnered some deserved attention earlier this season when he notched a 19-game hitting streak with the Double-A Reading Fightins. A 5th round draft pick in 2014 out of Sacramento State, Hoskins is still figuring some things out in his second full season of pro ball.
Through 33 games this year, the 23-year-old sports a .238 average with five doubles, six home runs and 21 RBI.
Last season, Hoskins was honored as an All-Star with Class A Lakewood prior to earning a promotion to Class A Advanced Clearwater.
Recently, I spoke with Rhys, Phillies Nation’s number 14 prospect, about how he feels regarding Double-A competition, his hit streak and his stacked team among other topics. Read ahead for that full interview.
-What are your thoughts on the competition here in the Eastern League this year?
Obviously, the pitchers are a little better and the teams are a little better. There’s a lot more guys that you can see in the big leagues, guys that have a real good chance to be in the big leagues in this league, so it makes it a lot more fun to be out there competing against them.
-This Reading team is packed with recognizable prospect names and you’re among the names that people have become familiar with. What’s it like to be on this roster with these guys?
I mean it’s fun when you win. Especially, (because) we’ve got a really, really good team. You know, we’ve got guys like Crawford and Alfaro and Cozens and Quinn and Mora and all these guys that hit, hit, hit. And to hit in a lineup with all these guys, it makes everyone’s job easier.
-You and all those guys you mentioned got to take part, just before the season, in that Phillies Futures Series and played at Citizens Bank Park. What was the experience like for you?
I think everyone dreams of playing in a big league stadium at some point and to be able to interact with some of the guys that are in the big leagues now, you pick up little tidbits on how to be professional and how to go about your day-to-day business. It was awesome. It was really, really cool. We kind of got a taste of what it’s like to be in the big leagues for a couple days and it’s definitely something I won’t forget.
-One of the guys, Roman or Dylan maybe, told me about the special treatment you guys got during that week. What stood out to you?
Just little stuff, like it was my first charter flight. I had ever been on one which that’s something that, hopefully, when we get to the big leagues, it’ll become normal. But, just little things like that. A police escort. It was cool to experience something that– you don’t really think about those kind of things or being a part of that, but to get to experience it is pretty cool.
-Right now, though, the real life aspect of things is long bus trips and strange towns. What do you do to pass time while you’re traveling?
We’re pretty close as a team. We got along from the get go, with all sort of guys. One thing we do is we play a lot of cards just to pass time, give us something to do. You’re in there quite a bit just playing cards before the game to keep your mind sharp. But we have fun with it.
-Do you have any good luck charms or superstitions?
I have a pre-pitch routine before every at bat. Just in the box, something that gets me comfortable. But, if I have a good day, I’ll do the same thing that I did to get prepared for that day. Sometimes, you have a good day and you’re going to have a bad day pretty soon because that’s baseball.
-Speaking of that, you had a 19-game hitting streak earlier in the season. Was that routine or confidence a big factor in that for you?
I didn’t even think I realized it till I hit 13 or 14. Obviously, I’m not trying to go up to the plate and say, “I need to extend this hitting streak.” Um, I just got some good pitches to hit. I missed some. I think there was a lot more that I could have done during the streak. But, to be able to do something like that, that doesn’t happen too often in baseball, is something special and something that I’ll remember.
-What is the family support like for you with your family not being close? Are they able to keep tabs and watch you online?
With the whole MiLB TV and (Reading broadcaster) Mike (Ventola) doing the great job that he does, my dad watches and listens to every game that he can out on the west coast. You know, I have extended family and friends that I’ll get random texts from that say, “Hey, just watched the game”, or “Nice game!” or whatever it is. Just to know that you have that kind of support when we’re out here on our own, living the life that we do, it’s nice to know that they’re out there watching.