Sunday, August 27, 2017

The Phillies and the Hoskins phenomena


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The fans have been through one of the worst seasons ever so far in Phillies history this season. We're reminded on a daily basis that this current team and last year has been an utter flop. The fans didn't retreat into a dark dusty cave though as Phillies fans may have many years ago. This time the slide has been a bit different.

What could this team do to improve itself was the cry from the fan base this time around. In this day of instant media, you don't have to wait for the headlines the way you use to when your primary source of news from a baseball team arrived on your porch in the morning, or if you like the Bulletin, in the late afternoon. No, it's very different now, blogs, podcasts, many different sources. A myriad of angles, you don't have to settle for just a news statement here or there or how about the Howard Eskin  question? Asking Matt Klentak about his options a few weeks ago, with the fact that certain players he brought in won't be here for the end of the season? What kind of pressure is Klentak under to make things happen? This is modern baseball in the city of Philadelphia.

Back to the fan base, they called for some action. 'Bring up the AAA guys", is what the cry was from a lot of fans that saw an avalanche of talent waiting to be picked of the fruit tree of the Phillies minor league system. This is something that has been happening for a while, but with each year or few, we would be introduced to a player who has been highly touted to do well. The Phils didn't always allow themselves to bring up younger talent especially with the run of greatness that the team experienced from 2008-2011, they tried to keep what they had in place.

Let's go back a couple years to revisit some names that we thought would really make an impact.

Going back to 2003, which was the last season of Veteran's Stadium, we have Marlon Byrd, who as a 25 year old rookie, finished 4th of ROY voting and started us thinking that he may in fact be the best upcoming player to make a big impact with this Phillies baseball team. Bobby Abreu, a guy that I still think to this day really wasn't ever considered one of the best Phillies players ever, was the top offensive slugger on the Phillies team at this time with an audacious 5.3 WAR if you like that saber stat number. Plus the fact that this 2003 year team had Jim Thome and his 4.9 WAR (he put up 47 HR in the season for the Phils in 2003) brought in for good measure on a team that finished in 3rd place at 86-76 for scrappy manager Larry Bowa.

The next year, of course Citizens Bank Park opened up for it's first season. Let's look at someone from a more modern era that had offensive pop prowess. For that player, I think we would have to look at Pat Burrell, he seemed to own the city of Philadelphia when especially in 2005, he parked 32 HR and drove in 117 on the season. The love affair with the home run and Phillies fans have always existed. Players that hit them were like old friends, you could rely on them to come though for you. Oh and that youngster back then the Phillies brought up in 2005 as well, Ryan Howard, with his ROY win that year and a big 22 HR on his first offical MLB season, ahh the memories.

So lets look at today. The Phillies have a new bright spot of the team. Things are much different though with the rest of the team, perhaps ever the presence of Babe Ruth wouldn't make an impact on this team. But all of a sudden there is a player named Rhys Hoskins, and he's been on an offensive tear lately. In the record books for the fastest first 10 HR ever to be hit in a career (Hoskins 10 HR in first 17 GM). The man is trying to make up for lost time! It's something that is great for him as a player and it's giving a lot of fans a reason to keep their interest in a team that isn't going anywhere this year, but there is still plenty of baseball left to play.

What will become of the Hoskins phenomena? What will Phillies management do for next year in regards to free agents, this newly tapped talent and what's to follow for 2018? We'll see when that gets here but for now, we've still got the World Series champs in town with us, and they reminded this young Phillies team just who they are with a 17-2 trouncing of them at Citizens Bank Park last night.


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