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Phillies call up slugger Rhys Hoskins

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CSNPhilly’s Jim Salisbury reports that slugging minor leaguer Rhys Hoskins will be called up by the Phillies today.

Hoskins, the Phillies’ fifth round pick in the 2014 draft out of Cal State Sacramento, has shown in the minors that he has nothing left to prove with his bat. He’s hitting .284/.385/.581 with 29 homers and 91 RBI this season at Lehigh Valley and last year he hit .281/.377/.566 with 38 homers and drove in 116 at Double-A. He’s 24 now, so it’s time for him to be in the majors.

The problem has been where to play him. He’s a first baseman, but Tommy Joseph is getting the reps at first for the Phillies, who may trade him in the offseason and thus want to showcase him. To that end they’ve had Hoskins working in left field. He hasn’t played there since college, but with Aaron Altherr injured and, frankly, the Phillies games not really mattering anymore, there’s no reason not to plug Hoskins in out there and let him face big league pitching.

Giancarlo Stanton rips Marlins after dropping series to lowly Phillies

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The Marlins got hammered by the Phillies on Wednesday afternoon, losing 10-3 and dropping the three-game series against their lowly division rival. The Phillies, who still own baseball’s worst record at 32-61, banged out 20 hits, including four doubles and two triples.

Giancarlo Stanton tried his hardest to lead his team to victory. He homered twice in Monday’s win, once in Tuesday’s loss, and once again on Wednesday to bring him into a tie with Aaron Judge for the major league lead in homers at 30. The series loss stung Stanton. Via MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro, Stanton said after the game, “If you can’t win a series against the worst team in the league; there’s not much going for you, right there.”

The Marlins are notably going through a transition process as owner Jeffrey Loria is selling the team. And with the team sitting 42-51, they’re not going anywhere this year and may undergo yet another fire sale. Stanton in particular has been brought up in trade rumors despite his gargantuan contract (13 years, $325 million) and full no-trade clause. The constant state of uncertainty with the team may be getting to Stanton.

After Wednesday’s performance, Stanton is hitting .275/.360/.590 with 30 home runs, 64 RBI, and 65 runs scored in 394 plate appearances.

The Home Run Derby is already being blamed for Aaron Judge’s struggles

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Two weeks ago, I wrote about how every year the Home Run Derby is made the scapegoat for players’ second-half struggles. Scores of studies have found inconclusive evidence that the Derby has any meaningful influence on a player in the second half of the season. The most reasonable explanation is simple regression toward the mean.

Aaron Judge, by way of being baseball’s most productive hitter and winning the Derby, had the most eyes on him to begin the second half of the 2017 season. In four games since the All-Star break, Judge has one measly hit — an infield single — with three walks and six strikeouts in 21 plate appearances.

Already, the Derby is being blamed for Judge’s impotent bat. At the end of his column on the subject, Ken Davidoff of the New York Post writes:

He looked far fresher in Game 2, and Girardi said he planned to rest Judge either Tuesday or Wednesday in Minnesota. Nevertheless, to dismiss the Derby Jinx outright is to ignore both history and common sense. The Phillies’ Bobby Abreu in 2005 (18 homers in 323 at-bats pre-Derby, six homers in 265 at-bats afterward) and the Mets’ David Wright in 2006 (20 homers in 339 at-bats pre-Derby, six homers in 243 at-bats post-Derby) both struggled greatly.

To his credit, Davidoff also mentioned that Judge also hit into some bad luck, particularly in the second game of Sunday’s double-header against the Red Sox. Judge hit a line drive right to Mookie Betts in right field, and he crushed a baseball 411 feet to center field that was caught at the wall by center fielder Jackie Bradley, Jr. If the ball had gone one foot further, however, the column probably doesn’t get written and the Derby doesn’t become the scapegoat.

Judge appears to be the most level-headed about his performance. He said, “You’re going to have your ups and downs. You’re going to have your times when you do everything right and you still get out. It’s just part of it. I’m happy with the swing. I’m happy with a lot of the swings I took the last couple of days. But you don’t get any results from it. That’s baseball. That’s the game we play.”