Bombs Away: Rhys Hoskins Is The Next Mickey Mantle

Phillies first baseman Rhys Hoskins now has 18 home runs in his 34 career games. Further confirming that he is not from this earth, but rather he is from Superman’s home planet of Krypton.

Unfortunately, opposing teams have yet to discover his Kryptonite.

Obviously, Hoskins probably wouldn’t be able to keep that pace up over the course of a season but at this point, it feels like we are watching The Natural with how gifted this kid is.

It seriously is just as the movie is scripted: a talented rookie comes seemingly out of nowhere and not only crushes every ball he hits but raises the morale of the team in the process. Since his Aug. 10th call-up, the Phillies have averaged 4.9 runs per game and are now ranked fourth in batting for the month of September.

In Triple-A this season Hoskin hit 29 home runs from April until the day he was called up on August 10th. And now he has almost half that number in a month with the big-league team. Now Hoskins isn’t a big and ripped looking guy like Giancarlo Stanton, nor is he the same proportions as the 6-foot-7, 285-pound Aaron Judge.

Yet despite that, he has hit more home runs than both of them – and everyone else in baseball – since August 10th. Also, he is the fastest player ever to reach 17 career home runs. Faster than feared sluggers like Babe Ruth, Mickey Mantle, Hank Aaron, and Barry Bonds.

So how is he so powerful and so consistent? There are a few factors that come into play when breaking down the swing and at-bats of this unique 24-year-old.

The pitch selection

Something the Phillies as a whole struggled with this season was plate discipline, something that their hitting coach Matt Stairs has preached since day one of spring training. A Rhys Hoskins’ at-bat is the perfect model for how a player must select his zone and target only pitches in that zone.

And Hoskins gets plenty of pitches to hit as nearly 60 percent of the pitches he sees are in the strike zone. It might not be his exact sweet spot but he is still getting something to hit.

The leg kick/timing the ball

Right before a pitch is thrown to him, Hoskins deploys a slight leg kick/raise that not only sets up his timing but allows for him to transfer all of his power to his back swing. He starts that leg raise well before the pitcher reaches his release point giving Hoskins plenty of time to calculate in his mind if he wants to swing or not.

Image Source: Twitter
Image Source: Twitter

His power-shift begins once he plants that front foot and rotates. And since he has such great timing on his side, he won’t need to worry about ‘muscling’ the ball out of the yard, his swing mechanics already have allowed him to gain maximum power and rotation.

Behind the scenes

A normal day for Hoskins starts at the ball park five hours before game time at 7 pm. His first – and most important – stop is the video room to come up with a game plan against that night’s opposing starter. This goes hand-in-hand with his timing and ability to see pitches. By watching the film he picks out where he wants to start his swing and what pitches he should be looking for during the at-bat.

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