Rhys Hoskins is the fastest Major League player to hit nine home runs

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Rhys Hoskins is, in no uncertain terms, a force to be reckoned with. The Phillies’ rookie left fielder kept up his blistering pace on Friday, clubbing his ninth home run in his first 16 games and 54 total at-bats to set an all-time record. Per Elias Sports, no one has hit 9+ home runs in their first 16 games since 1913, and no one has ever done it in as few at-bats.

The historic homer came in the first inning of the Phillies’ 7-1 win over the visiting Cubs. Hoskins eyed a 2-1 pitch from Jose Quintana and launched a two-run shot 403 feet into the left field stands.

Hoskins finished the night 1-for-3 with two RBI, falling just three RBI shy of the Major League record established by Mandy Brooks for the 1925 Cubs. That’s not too shabby for a player who entered Friday slashing a cool .283/.406/755 through his first 16 games in the big leagues.

The only blemish on his performance? The lack of a cool Players Weekend nickname to accompany his Major League accomplishments. “Slugger,” “Muscles” or “Prime Time” might come off as too cocky for someone as superstitious as the 24-year-old outfielder; then again, perhaps something simple and descriptive is the way to go:

RHP Fairbanks, Rays agree to 3-year, $12 million contract

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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Reliever Pete Fairbanks and the Tampa Bay Rays avoided arbitration when they agreed Friday to a three-year, $12 million contract that could be worth up to $24.6 million over four seasons.

The deal includes salaries of $3,666,666 this year and $3,666,667 in each of the next two seasons. The Rays have a $7 million option for 2026 with a $1 million buyout.

His 2024 and 2025 salaries could increase by $300,000 each based on games finished in the previous season: $150,000 each for 35 and 40.

Tampa Bay’s option price could increase by up to $6 million, including $4 million for appearances: $1 million each for 60 and 70 in 2025; $500,000 for 125 from 2023-25 and $1 million each for 135, 150 and 165 from 2023-25. The option price could increase by $2 million for games finished in 2025: $500,000 each for 25, 30, 35 and 40.

Fairbanks also has a $500,000 award bonus for winning the Hoffman/Rivera reliever of the year award and $200,000 for finishing second or third.

The 29-year-old right-hander is 11-10 with a 2.98 ERA and 15 saves in 111 appearances, with all but two of the outings coming out of the bullpen since being acquired by the Rays from the Texas Rangers in July 2019.

Fairbanks was 0-0 with a 1.13 ERA in 24 appearances last year after beginning the season on the 60-day injured list with a right lat strain.

Fairbanks made his 2022 debut on July 17 and tied for the team lead with eight saves despite being sidelined more than three months. In addition, he is 0-0 with a 3.60 ERA in 12 career postseason appearances, all with Tampa Bay.

He had asked for a raise from $714,400 to $1.9 million when proposed arbitration salaries were exchanged Jan. 13, and the Rays had offered for $1.5 million.

Fairbanks’ agreement was announced two days after left-hander Jeffrey Springs agreed to a $31 million, four-year contract with Tampa Bay that could be worth $65.75 million over five seasons.

Tampa Bay remains scheduled for hearings with right-handers Jason Adam and Ryan Thompson, left-hander Colin Poche, third baseman Yandy Diaz and outfielder Harold Ramirez.