Scout who wanted to draft Hoskins thought he had 15-20 home run potential

By Tim Kelly, Sports Talk Philly editor

Even in the midst of a season that will likely land the Philadelphia Phillies the No. 1 overall pick, 1B/LF Rhys Hoskins' month of August has generated noteworthy excitement around the team, both locally and nationally. In 68 at-bats, Hoskins has 11 home runs, something that even those behind drafting him didn't see coming. 

This past weekend, Matt Gelb of The Philadelphia Inquirer penned an excellent piece about the 24-year-old, who suddenly appears in a home run chase with Giancarlo Stanton. In it, Gelb spoke to Joey Davis, the scout who was perhaps highest on Hoskins leading up to the team drafting him. Davis even admitted that he didn't initially think Hoskins would develop this type of power: 

Davis, who developed a relationship with Hoskins ever since high school, had an idea Hoskins could hit. He was less certain about the power potential. Maybe, Davis thought, Hoskins could be a 15- or 20-homer guy if everything went right. 

Davis seems to have hit on Hoskins being a professional hitter. Charlie Manuel, on many occasions, has had high praise for Hoskins as a hitter. Joe Maddon, who is going to be a Hall of Famer eventually, couldn't say enough good things about Hoskins after he raked against the Chicago Cubs last weekend. And after hitting at every level of the minor leagues, Hoskins is hitting .309 with 25 RBIs in his first 19 big league games, so he's backing up Davis' predictions himself. 

While Hoskins isn't going to stay on the pace that he's on power-wise, he's hit 78 home runs across three different levels since the start of the 2016 season. As a scout put it, his early big league success isn't a fluke. 

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The Phillies have had Hoskins play left field in many of his early starts. While he's actually held his own in the outfield, he's a natural first baseman and that's where he'll be playing in 2018 and beyond. Had he not developed this power throughout the course of his young professional baseball career, it would have greatly reduced his value as a player. Even with his great approach, a professional hitter that only has 15-20 home run power would be limited to playing a corner outfield position, where Hoskins is, at best, a replacement level fielder. 

Hoskins' power development is perhaps even more surprising because he was drafted by the Phillies not out of high school, but after a three-season college career. In a three-season college career that spanned 168 games, he hit a solid, but modest 25 home runs. He had 200 hits and a.319 average, which Davis seemed to think would translate to the professional level. The fact that Hoskins has since developed elite power will not only help him in his career, but probably Davis as well – even if he didn't see this coming.