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Joseph gets chance to seize Phillies 1B job in 2017

By: Matthew Shinkle, Sports Talk Philly writer

Tommy Joseph originally came to the Philadelphia Phillies as a prospect in the Hunter Pence trade with the San Francisco Giants during the 2012 season. He moved from catcher to first base during the 2015 season after suffering multiple concussions. 

Despite such setbacks during his minor league career, Joseph excelled this past season at both the minor and major league level. He was promoted from Triple-A shortly after the season began after tearing it up in his first 27 games with the Lehigh Valley IronPigs.  The Phillies hope he can build off his recent success, after hitting .257 with 21 HR's and 47 RBI's in 107 games.   

Joseph, 25, finally established himself as a major league player this past season. As Phillies general manager Matt Klentak says, the Phillies are ready to let Joseph take the reigns at first base, with Ryan Howard's last season with the club having come to a close. 

"Right now, Tommy Joseph is our everyday first baseman," Phillies general manager Matt Klentak said at the Winter Meetings. "If that changes by virtue of an additional player acquisition, then we'll adjust. But Tommy showed pretty well for himself all year long and we're excited to see what he can do in a little more of a regular role this coming year."

Taking Joseph's 21 HR's in 107 games, he figures to be able to hit 32 HR's in a full season of action. While it (obviously) seems improbable for him to play 162 games next season, the Phillies could do a lot worse than him at the opposite corner from Maikel Franco. After all, the last time a Phillie hit at least 30 home runs was Ryan Howard when he hit 33 back during the 2011 season. 

Assuming Joseph does indeed get the whole season to prove himself, the Phillies will get to take a good look at what type of player the Phillies have in Joseph. On a team that ranked seventh to last in the league in home runs, Joseph should help provide the power that the Phillies missed during 2016, having hit the second most home runs on the team this past season.

If you're a fan of Joseph's - you'll enjoy getting to watch him develop all next season. If you're not? The Phillies have another first basemen tearing it up in the minors. 

Dylan Cozens' counterpart this past season at Double-A was Rhys Hoskins, drafted in the fifth round of the 2014 draft. While he didn't win the Eastern League MVP or lead the minors in home runs, both of which his teammate did do, Hoskins still offers just as much excitement. 

Hoskins has been dominant all three years in professional baseball, toting a career slash of .288/.372/.516. After hitting 38 HR's and 116 RBI's this past season with Reading, the expectation is for Hoskins, along with Cozens, to join the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs to start the 2017 season. 


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