Dan's Dugout: Phils Rookie Breaks In With a Blast • Latino Sports

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Dan’s Dugout: Phils Rookie Breaks In With a Blast

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PHILADELHIA – As they approach the Labor Day marker, the Phillies don’t have much to write home about.

Even with a mystifying ability to beat the Atlanta Braves, the National League East rival they host this week, the Phils have been putrid. And that’s being polite.

The team lost 81 of its first 119 games – by far the worst performance by any of the 30 clubs – and got next to nothing from Clay Buchholz and the other veterans imported to influence their kids.

But wait! The Phils have found a sudden knight in shining armor.

Rookie Rhys Hoskins is rewriting the record book

Rookie Rhys Hoskins is rewriting the record book

A rookie outfielder named Rhys Hoskins has suddenly suggested he’s the second coming of Ryan Howard.

All Hoskins did in his first 18 games is smash 11 home runs – the best performance since 1913, when such feats were properly monitored for the first time.

Yes, Hoskins has been better than Babe Ruth, Hank Aaron, Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire or any of the game’s legendary sluggers. Even Sammy Sosa, armed with a corked bat and a hidden syringe, didn’t duplicate the Hoskins pace.

Following in the footsteps of Aaron Judge and Cody Bellinger, Hoskins has made frustrated fans stop and look when he strides to the plate.

Credit the scout who spotted him – and begged the Phillies to snatch him up in the annual draft of amateur free agents.

Drafted out of Sacramento State in 2014, Hoskins was projected as a potential 15- to 20-homer type at best. But Joey Davis, the sharp-eyed scout, saw something more.

So did minor-league hitting coordinator Andy Tracy, who told the budding slugger to add a leg kick that might generate more power.

Cody Bellinger was a rookie on a rampage before Rhys Hoskins

Cody Bellinger was a rookie on a rampage before Rhys Hoskins

That mechanical adjustment plus some mental tweaks made with the help of Double-A hitting coach Frank Cacciatore turned him into a legitimate power-hitter.

“Scouting is a team effort,” said Davis, who is close with Hoskins. “We have to give them good players, and they have to do a good job of coaching. That’s what happens. You have a kid like this who is willing to learn and put in the work. He has the body and the size. So it was worth a shot in the fifth round.”

Hoskins, who also plays first base, has zoomed to the top of the team’s untouchables list. Not surprisingly, the list is short.
The 24-year-old Californian, a righthanded batter who owns an impressive 6’4″ 225-pound frame, tied a Phillies club record Sunday by connecting in his fifth straight game. Only Chase Utley, in 2008, did that previously.

About Dan Schlossberg

Former AP sportswriter Dan Schlossberg of Fair Lawn, NJ has produced 35 baseball books, including autobiographies of Ron Blomberg, Al Clark, and Milo Hamilton. Also a broadcaster, he is the host and executive producer of Braves Banter and Travel Itch Radio and a contributor to Sirius XM.

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