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We continue our rankings debate with a look at one of the top rookie sluggers ago who wowed us all with his power display. No, not Aaron Judge or Cody Bellinger...

RotoBaller's expert writers have come up with our consensus rankings for mixed leagues, but that doesn't mean we agreed on everything. In this space, we'll hear from rankers with the biggest differences of opinion on a well-known player and have them defend their position against each other.

We start with one of the hottest rookies on nearly everyone's draft board, Philadelphia Phillies outfielder/first baseman Rhys Hoskins. Kyle Bishop will defend his position that Hoskins is worth a top-30 overall pick, while Bill Dubiel debates whether Hoskins is even worth selecting in the first 80. Let's get ready to rumble!

Editor's Note: Our friends at RTSports have best ball leagues with no in-season management. Just draft your team, and that's it! Use your phone for this casual draft by getting emails or texts when you're on the clock. Sign Up Now!

 

2018 Draft Rankings Debate - Rhys Hoskins

Ranking Tier Player Position Kyle Nick Pierre Jeff Harris Bill
44 4 Rhys Hoskins 1B/OF 30 51 43 41 34 84

 

Kyle Bishop's Ranking: #30 overall

Readers, y'all know me. How many times have I stressed certainty and high floors in the early rounds? How often do I advocate for caution with the buzz that surrounds player in their MLB infancy? Have I not established myself as someone willing to throw the brake on hype trains? Then you must ask yourself: Why am I throwing all in on Rhys Hoskins?

It is true that he logged only 212 plate appearances in 50 games at the major league level in 2017. In that admittedly small sample, however, Hoskins reached heights that even some of the best hitters in the game never have. He did this on the heels of a breakout 2016 season at Double-A Reading in which he hit .281/.377/.566 with 38 home runs in 135 games. Some suggested he was a product of that club's launching pad of a park. He moved to Triple-A to begin last year and hit .284/.385/.581 with 29 homers in 115 games, while cutting his strikeout rate to under 16% and bumping his walk rate up to 13.5%. Then he hit .259/.396/.618 with 18 homers in those 50 MLB contests, while posting a 17.5 BB%, 7.1 SwStr%, and 81.4 Contact%. Only three other hitters in MLB reached or bettered all three of those benchmarks - Mike Trout, Joey Votto, and you guessed it, Frank Stallone Matt Carpenter. Those guys did it over a longer period, sure, but those stats also stabilize quickly. As in at or before 212 plate appearances.

Is Hoskins going to maintain a 60 HR pace over a full season? Of course not. We all know that 31.6 HR/FB% is coming down. But even a drop into the low 20s would net him 35 to 40 bombs over a full season - and oh, hey, that's exactly where projections have him. Hoskins will be hitting in the middle of a Phillies lineup that was A) within spitting distance of the top-five in runs scored in the season's second half and B) added OBP machine Carlos Santana to hit in front of him. Suffice to say run production won't be an issue. Hoskins' advanced plate approach and high quality of contact also give him a much higher and safer floor than his relative inexperience would suggest.

Even if I've failed to convince you he's worth a third-round pick, you don't need to take that plunge - his early ADP is 51. In an e-mail thread discussing the rollout of this article series, I referred to Bill's ranking as "a war crime." But even war criminals get a chance to explain themselves, so I'll yield the floor to him.

 

Bill Dubiel's Ranking: #84 overall

I'm a bit perplexed that I need to talk Kyle down about anyone. He is, as the young people say, a "hater". Alas, I must intervene here.

Rhys Hoskins made a big old, cannonball-sized splash when he entered the league last year, and there are certainly plenty of reasons to think he can sustain success across an entire season. I am not, however, ready to believe that the dynamic youngster is going to waltz into the league and instantly become a valid choice in the third round of a fantasy baseball draft.

The biggest factor we need to consider here is the power, right? The man hit 18 bombs in just 50 MLB games after swatting 29 in just 115 in AAA in 2017. His major league output put his ISO at a comical .359. This is, needless to say, unsustainable. Kyle mentioned that he doesn't expect him to maintain that torrid pace for an entire season because he's not (I'm assuming) a crazy person, but I want to dig deeper into those 50 games. That equates to just about two months of the season, and I think that makes for a nice, neat place to break up Hoskins' major league "season". In August, Hoskins was absurd. He averaged a homer every other game (11 in 22 games), drove in 25 runs, struck out just 14 times in 79 at bats (17.7 K%) and hit .304. His OPS was a maniacal 1.149. He was the talk and toast of the fantasy world and with good reason.

Then September came around. Hoskins' production dropped off a cliff almost immediately, and in 28 games he managed just seven homers, 23 RBI (this is still pretty damn good), a strikeout rate of 35.2% and a .220 batting average. It certainly looks like major league pitching adapted to him, and therein lies my concern. This is undoubtedly an elite talent we're talking about, and at the peak of his career we may talk about him in the same breath as Anthony Rizzo or Joey Votto or Matt Carpenter. He's just not there yet. I certainly don't think that Hoskins is as bad as his 2017 September would imply, but he carries far too much risk to use a pick on any earlier than round five or six at the very earliest, and I would argue later than that. His 2018 production will probably be somewhere around 30 homers with a .245 batting average and 80 RBI. The RBI total may even creep a little higher, because as Kyle mentioned the meat of the Phillies offense is nothing to scoff at.

 

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