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Hoskins: ‘Cool Opportunity’ to Compete in Home Run Derby

By Matt Rappa, Sports Talk Philly editor

Monday evening, Philadelphia Phillies 1B/LF Rhys Hoskins will become the fifth player in club history to compete in the Home Run Derby since its inception in 1985, joining Jim Thome (2004), Bobby Abreu (2005), Ryan Howard (2006, 2007 and 2009) and Chase Utley (2008).

Only Abreu (2005) and Howard (2006) have ever won the derby in a Phillies uniform.

Having already competed in a derby twice on the professional stage — with the Lakewood BlueClaws and Reading Fightin' Phils — Hoskins said Monday on SportsRadio 94 WIP that competing on the national level is "a cool opportunity."

"Obviously, I grew up a huge baseball fan, [and] grew up watching the derby as a kid," Hoskins said. "I was in a few in the minor leagues, so I think just to be able to do it on the national stage [is] cool for the organization, cool for the Phillies, and is a cool opportunity for myself as well."

Hoskins finished second in the South Atlantic League Home Run Derby in 2015 behind Kansas City Royals No. 16 prospect Ryan O'Hearn. One year later, Hoskins competed alongside catcher Jorge Alfaro and outfielder Dylan Cozens in the Eastern League Home Run Derby, and finished third-to-last.

Native to Sacramento, California, Hoskins said he grew up a San Francisco Giants fan and that all-time home runs leader Barry Bonds was his favorite player. Bonds won the derby at Veterans Stadium in 1996, the last time All-Star festivities were held in Philadelphia.

Hoskins will compete against Milwaukee Brewers first baseman Jesus Aguilar in the first round. When asked of his main threat in the contest, Hoskins was quick to note Washington Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper.

"I think Harper's got a little bit of an advantage with the hometown crowd. He can feed off of that," Hoskins said.

The Home Run Derby at Nationals Park will commence at 8 p.m. on ESPN.

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