For the first time since Ryan Howard in 2009, the Philadelphia Phillies had a representative compete in the Home Run Derby Monday night.
Phillies left fielder Rhys Hoskins entered the contest as the eighth seeded player in the 8-contestant field. Due to his seeding, Hoskins was the first batter to step up to the plate to face off against the National League home run leader, Jesus Aguilar.
Hoskins looked gassed at his timeout – he had just over two minutes remaining and was at five home runs. Following the timeout, Hoskins caught fire. He finished the round with 17 home runs. His furthest homer was 463 ft. It was a solid start and Aguilar did not have the ability to match it, putting up only 12 home runs. Hoskins advanced to the second round 17-12.
In the second round, Hoskins was set to face the winner of the Kyle Schwarber/Alex Bregman matchup. Bregman seemed like he may be able to topple Schwarber, but fell just short. Schwarber advanced with a 16-15 win and Rhys knew who his opponent in Round 2 would be.
Hoskins hit 17 home runs in his first turn, which matched the highest amount of any participant in the first round. He topped that in the second round by being the first player to hit 20 home runs. He hit 19 in his first four minutes and earned an additional 30 seconds by hitting two home runs over 440 ft. He hit an additional home run in the 30 seconds to get to 20 home runs. It was history – no player had ever hit 20 home runs in the semi-final before.
Kyle Schwarber was up to the challenge, though. In the last seconds of his four minutes, Schwarber hit home run number 21. He had also earned the additional 30 seconds, but did not need them.
Rhys was a surprise to those outside of the Philadelphia area totaling 37 home runs with a max distance of 466 ft. He will look to continue a strong first half on Friday against the Padres.