Phillies outfielder Rhys Hoskins, a No. 8 seed in the 2018 Home Run Derby, upset Brewers first baseman and No. 1 seed Jesús Aguilar in the first round. Hoskins went first, blasting 17 home runs, which was more than enough to hold off Aguilar, who hit 12. Hoskins got into a groove, pulling quite a few home runs down the left field line. Aguilar’s pace was comparatively much slower and he didn’t use his time-out until he had about a minute and a half remaining.
Hoskins’ longest home run went 463 feet and he maxed out in exit velocity at 108 MPH. For Aguilar, those numbers were 428 feet and 106 MPH, respectively.
The seeds were accurate, despite the upset. Hoskins had 14 home runs in the first half, the fewest of any of the eight contestants. Aguilar’s 24 first-half homers led the National League and is the most among the Derby contestants.
We’ll have more updates for you as the Derby progresses. Kyle Schwarber and Alex Bregman are currently doing battle. They’ll be followed by Javier Báez and Max Muncy, and Freddie Freeman and Bryce Harper.
Robert Murray and MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand reported earlier, respectively, that the Phillies signed pitcher Francisco Liriano and infielder Neil Walker to minor league contracts. If he makes the major league roster, Liriano will earn a salary of $1.5 million with an additional $1.25 million available through performance incentives. Walker’s contract information is not yet known.
Liriano, 36, struggled from 2016-18 but enjoyed a productive year out of the bullpen for the Pirates this past season. He posted a 3.47 ERA with 63 strikeouts and 35 walks over 70 innings. The lefty was quite effective against same-handed batters, limiting fellow lefties to a .659 OPS. That would figure to be a key component if Liriano makes the Phillies’ Opening Day roster.
Walker, 34, hit .261/.344/.395 with eight home runs and 38 RBI over 381 plate appearances with the Marlins last year. The veteran is versastile, having played first, second, and third base along with both corner outfield spots in recent seasons. Despite Walker’s versatility, it is tough to see room on the Phillies’ roster for him, barring injuries to other players. It never hurts to have depth.