Like anyone who has watched rookie Rhys Hoskins on a daily basis the last five weeks, Phillies hitting coach Matt Stairs has been captivated. Stairs saw hundreds of hitters during his Major League Baseball career that spanned 19 years with 12 different teams. Yet few displayed such a mature approach at the plate as Hoskins has through his first two months in the big leagues. Hoskins' home runs have been impressive and historic. His 17th home run in Wednesday's 8-1 win against the Marlins came in only the 33rd game of his career. Hoskins became the fastest player in MLB history to hit 17 homers, beating the previous record of 42 games by the Boston Braves' Wally Berger in 1930. While the homers have been a welcomed addition to the offense, it's Hoskins' keen eye and approach that makes the Phillies believe his success is not a fluke. Stairs said the last player he can recall seeing who exhibited the same discipline and power early in his career was first baseman Jason Giambi, who spent most of his 20 seasons with the Oakland Athletics and New York Yankees. "Giambi was a similar hitter, a quiet approach, same path, same swing on every pitch. Knew the strike zone very well at a young age," Stairs said. "[Hoskins] doesn't try to do too much with a pitch to hit. He doesn't over swing. He stays within himself every time. And Giambi was the same way." Although it's a small sample size, the 24-year-old's ability to take pitches and work counts evokes similarities to Giambi and Cincinnati Reds star Joey Votto. Giambi led the league in walks four times and on-base percentage three times while Votto has finished as the league leader in walks four seasons and OBP in five seasons. He currently leads MLB in both categories.
Could Phillies' Rhys Hoskins be next Giambi or Votto?
Courier-Post | Sep 15