Before each season, MLB Network runs a special on the 10 best players at each position currently.
Earlier this week, they released their list of first basemen ahead of the 2021 season, and perhaps to the surprise of some Philadelphia Phillies fans, Rhys Hoskins was included, checking in at No. 9.
How was that conclusion arrived at? “Using rankings based on past player performance, a number of offensive and defensive metrics, both advanced data and traditional numbers, and analysis by the MLB Network research team, “The Shredder” gives us its input (output?) on which players are the 10 best at their positions right now.”
Hoskins was the third-ranked first baseman in the National League East, with reigning National League MVP Freddie Freeman claiming the top spot, and 2019 National League Rookie of the Year Pete Alonso checking in at No. 7. Hoskins landed one spot ahead of his former teammate Carlos Santana, who is now a member of the Kansas City Royals.
Following a disappointing 2019 campaign, Hoskins rebounded in the pandemic-shortened 2020 campaign, slashing .245/.384/.503 with 10 home runs, 26 RBIs, 29 walks and an .887 OPS. Unfortunately for the Phillies, an elbow injury limited Hoskins to just 41 games, and his absence late in the season unquestionably contributed to the team missing the postseason for the ninth consecutive season.
In early October, Hoskins had surgery to repair his left UCL, a procedure that came with a four-to-six month recovery timeline. Both Hoskins himself and manager Joe Girardi recently gave positive updates on his status, leaving you with the feeling that there’s a very real chance he’ll be in the lineup when the Phillies host the Atlanta Braves on April 1 to open the 2021 season.
Of course, to this point, there is no word on whether the DH will return to the National League in 2021, so there’s a very real possibility that for Hoskins to be able to play on opening day, it will have to be in the field. His injury was to his non-throwing elbow, but still, the Phillies won’t rush him out there if he’s not ready on opening day.
Hoskins, now 27, will make $4.8 million in his first season of arbitration eligibility, and remains under team control through the 2023 season. It will be interesting to see what his future with the Phillies is if Alec Bohm’s defensive metrics don’t improve at third base in his first full season at the major league level.
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