The Brewers and a free agent first baseman Rhys Hoskins They are finalizing a two-year, $34 million guarantee that will allow him to opt out next winter, according to ESPN's Jeff Passan (X link). Milwaukee adds one of the best players remaining on the open market.
Hoskins takes a modified pillow contract after missing the entire 2023 season. At the end of spring training, he tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee while retreating to the outfield to use a helicopter. While he was able to take batting practice by the end of the season, he never returned to the roster. Philadelphia suggested that Hoskins might have been activated from the injured list had they advanced to the World Series.
With the Phils appearing one game short of the Fall Classic, a torn ACL marked an unfortunate end to a productive tenure at Citizens Bank Park. The Phillies initially selected Hoskins in the fifth round of the 2014 draft. Despite his modest draft stock, he hit the ground running in pro ball. He posted huge numbers in the minor league, working his way to the major leagues in the second half of the 2017 campaign.
This excellent production on the farm was a harbinger of strong numbers against MLB pitching. Hoskins hit a .259/.396/.618 clip with 18 home runs over his first 50 games. Although he has not maintained this pace over an entire season, he has been a consistent presence in the middle of the lineup in Philadelphia.
Hoskins hit between 27 and 34 home runs in his four full seasons between 2018-22. He was on a similar pace in the shortened season, hitting 10 long balls in 41 games. He's paired that with a walk rate above 10% every year of his career. That strength and patience gives him a solid offensive outfield, even if he hasn't hit above .250 in any season since his rookie year.
Since 2018, Hoskins has posted a .241/.350/.483 batting line. He struck out in nearly a quarter of his plate appearances. That's a little above the league average but not unusual, especially for a player who hits so hard. Hoskins has destroyed left-handed pitching with a .250/.399/.522 clip in his career. His .240/.336/.482 slash line against his same-handed arms is not impressive but remains solidly above average.
More is coming.
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