Philadelphia Phillies first basemen Rhys Hoskins left Thursday’s spring training game with what appeared to be a serious injury to his left knee. His injury is one in a growing list of crucial Phillies injuries sustained in spring training.
If Hoskins were to miss time, what would change for the 2023 Phillies?
Hoskins’ 2022 Campaign
There might be better first basemen out there, but Hoskins is a reliable power threat who often ranks among the best in the league with his substantial walk rate. In 2022, his walk rate was over 10% for the sixth consecutive season, and he earned 72 free passes to first base. When he was not walking, he was hitting the ball with great power. He launched 33 doubles – the second-most of his career – and 30 home runs.
For his career, Hoskins has a 125 OPS+, 25% better than the average hitter. He has been over 120 in each of the last three seasons including a 122 mark last year. He has a spotty history as a defender, but he posted +3 defensive runs saved in 2022, a career-best.
Hoskins had played 150 or more games in three of the last four non-COVID seasons. He made more than 150 starts at first base in both 2019 and 2022. If he misses much time, the Phillies will be in a difficult spot.
Who Replaces Hoskins
On Fangraphs, Hoskins is currently slated to take 602 of 700 plate appearances for Phillies’ first basemen. The other 98 plate appearances are allocated to third basemen Alec Bohm (49), Darick Hall (21), catcher J.T. Realmuto (14), and Kody Clemens (14).
Bohm will likely be the everyday third basemen for Philadelphia. While they secured a competent utility man in Josh Harrison to spell Bohm at times, Bohm will likely be kept at the hot corner to see if his defense improves.
Hall is the most promising option. He is projected to have 203 plate appearances in 2023. The majority of these will come early in the season as he replaces Bryce Harper as the Phillies’ designated hitter for the first couple of months.
In 2023, Hall played 42 games for the Phillies (including one as a pitcher), suiting up as the first baseman seven times. He also had 31 games as a designated hitter. He does not offer the same plate discipline that Hoskins does, but he would do an adequate job replacing the power. In the 41 games he played as a position player, Hall slashed .250/.282/.522 with nine home runs and 16 runs batted in. Extrapolated over 162 games, Hall would have had 32 doubles and 36 home runs.
Realmuto is unlikely to play at first base much. He will catch around 130 times in 2023, and if he is not catching, he is likely to be the designated hitter or a bench bat.
Clemens is only projected to have 42 MLB plate appearances in 2023. He could play a handful of games, but he is an unlikely option to take over for Hoskins.
Other Phillies Injuries
The major Phillies injuries are affecting the team’s lethal lineup. Bryce Harper could miss up to half of the season with an elbow injury and Tommy John surgery. Last season, Hoskins and Harper ranked fourth and fifth on the team respectively in WAR. They totaled 61 doubles and 48 home runs in 255 games played. Harper led the team in OPS while Hoskins finished third behind slugger Kyle Schwarber.
There are some minor Phillies injuries, but one important one could be Ranger Suarez’s nagging forearm. Suarez had a strong season as the Phillies’ No. 3 rotation arm, posting a 3.65 ERA over 155.1 innings. He made 29 starts, but his most important action came in the playoffs. He pitched five games, allowing two earned runs over 14.2 innings – a 1.23 ERA. He won games in both the NLCS and World Series. He also notched a save in the NLCS.
Suarez is slated to open the season on the injured list, and it is unclear how long he might be out.
Phillies Injuries: Verdict
The Suarez and Harper injuries should be resolved by the All-Star Break, but the potential Hoskins injury could force a major reshuffle. If Hall moves from designated hitter to full-time first baseman, the Phillies will need to plug in a new designated hitter while Harper recovers from surgery. Manager Rob Thomson will have tough decisions to make.
Sadly, the newest of the Phillies injuries could mark the end of Hoskins’ career in Philadelphia. But hopefully, no other major Phillies injuries happen between now and opening day.
Let us know how you think the Phillies injuries will impact the reigning NL Champs in the comments!
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