Aaron Judge, Cody Bellinger… Rhys Hoskins?

If you think about rookie outfielders who have taken the league by storm in 2017, chances are Aaron Judge and Cody Bellinger immediately jump to mind. Both have been excellent sources of offensive production, posting wOBAs of .419 and .392, respectively. However, if you’re reading this, chances are that the excellence of Judge and Bellinger doesn’t come as a surprise. They have been excellent. Each of us knows they have been excellent.

However, there is a more recent promotion who belongs in a similar tier to Judge and Bellinger, when examining sources of surplus value in Ottoneu, and that player is Rhys Hoskins.

Dave and Carson have both covered Hoskins in the past week, with Dave likening the offensive skillset to that of Daniel Murphy, Matt Carpenter, Justin Turner, Ian Kinsler, or Anthony Rendon. Carson, examining the players in the minor leagues currently showing similar skill sets. Today, I want try to look at the production Hoskins has shown and see if we can potentially get a better idea of his future Ottoneu FG points value. (For those in non-ottoneu leagues, this should still translate relatively well).

First, it is important to start with the position in question, as I mentioned Hoskins as an outfielder, errr…. “outfielder.” He is probably a Tommy Joseph move away form being a first baseman. There was a similar dilemma with Bellinger when he was promoted (with Adrian Gonzalez occupying 1B at the time). However, given the positional eligibility rules of nearly all formats, Hoskins will enter 2018 as an OF/1B dual eligibility which helps generate a point for comparison between the 3 players in question. Currently, ROS projections for Judge and Bellinger (per FG depth charts) are as follows.

  • Judge – .362 wOBA
  • Bellinger – .347 wOBA

While both these levels are well below the current production each player is producing (and I would take the over on both totals) it is helpful to us this as a baseline to illustrate the surplus these two OF have. A OF in the .350 to .360 wOBA range correlates to about a $25-$35 of value range within FGpts. At their likely current prices of under $10, that would make Bellinger and Judge two of the most valuable assets in nearly all leagues. With that in mind, I provide the following nugget.

Rhys Hoskins Projections
Team Age G PA HR R RBI BB% K% ISO BABIP AVG OBP SLG wOBA wRC+
ZiPS (R) 24 19 80 4 12 13 8.8 % 28.0 % .202 .308 .248 .323 .450 .329 101
Steamer (R) 24 31 132 8 18 21 10.4 % 21.1 % .259 .285 .267 .349 .527 .368 126
Depth Charts (R) 24 32 134 7 19 22 9.6 % 24.6 % .231 .296 .257 .336 .488 .349 113

Holy Rhys Hoskins! Projections are putting him in the same class of player with both Judge and Bellinger. Certainly those are some rosy projections, with some readers likely rolling their eyes at them. So let’s start from the beginning. First, we know Hoskins puts the ball in the air with regularity. That sounds a little bit like Bellinger. This was mentioned in Eric Longenhagen’s scouting report at the beginning of the year: “Hoskins has plus raw pull power and puts the ball in the air regularly, both because his swing is geared for in-air contact and because he works himself into counts where he can seek and destroy fastballs.” His minor league production confirm’s these numbers, with fly ball totals north of 48% each season since 2015. Let’s see what Statcast has to say.

Rhys Hoskins Batted Balls
Total avg EV Vertical Spray DB% GB% LD% HD% FB% PU%
39 88.9 20.3 -4.6 17.9% 10.3% 17.9% 12.8% 23.1% 17.9%
99637 86.6 11.0 3.8 34.0% 14.0% 13.7% 9.4% 13.7% 15.2%
SOURCE: xstats.org

For reference, the second row (highlighted) are league averages.

Certainly we don’t want to make earth shattering decisions off of 39 batted balls, but we can use this to help confirm Hoskins minor league numbers in additions to Eric’s scouting report. Hoskins is well below average on both ground ball classifications (DB% and FB%), while producing well above average rates on fly balls. We will want to watch for how these normalize with more data, but it helps us to confirm that Hoskins looks like the player he was advertised as.

While many of us base our views of a player’s talent on projection, it is not uncommon for there to be discourse regarding the rate at which projections update for either a player’s debut, or a change in approach. Often times, we find ourselves trying to forecast where a projection will end up, based off limited, and insignificant amounts of data. Making decisions on small sample sizes is the name of the game.

I performed a similar exercise after Bellinger’s debut, when projections had him at .329 wOBA ROS, and was able to make a case for a .352 rest of season projection. Because of this, I wanted to look at a list of comparable hitters from the past 10 years who appear to be in similar classes to Hoskins. For display purposes, I have only shown the seasons from 2016-2017, though all seasons from 2007-2017 were included in the average calculation.

Rhys Hoskins Comparables
Season Name Swing% Contact% SwStr% GB% BB% K% ISO wOBA wRC+
2017 Rhys Hoskins 39.7% 85.7% 5.7% 28.6% 15.6% 17.2% 0.472 0.468 191
2017 Mike Trout 39.2% 82.4% 6.9% 37.9% 18.0% 19.6% 0.337 0.453 193
2016 Mike Trout 38.8% 81.4% 7.1% 41.2% 17.0% 20.1% 0.235 0.418 171
2017 Joey Votto 41.4% 86.3% 5.7% 39.1% 18.4% 11.9% 0.283 0.432 165
2016 David Ortiz 44.4% 82.3% 7.7% 32.8% 12.8% 13.7% 0.305 0.419 163
2016 Joey Votto 42.2% 82.9% 7.1% 43.0% 16.0% 17.7% 0.225 0.413 158
2017 Justin Turner 44.3% 86.2% 6.1% 29.9% 10.9% 9.0% 0.205 0.404 153
2017 Zack Cozart 40.2% 85.7% 5.7% 38.4% 12.9% 15.0% 0.257 0.407 149
2016 Anthony Rizzo 45.2% 82.0% 8.1% 38.4% 10.9% 16.0% 0.252 0.391 145
2017 Anthony Rendon 41.1% 87.5% 5.1% 33.3% 13.9% 14.3% 0.246 0.397 143
2017 Justin Smoak 44.0% 79.5% 9.0% 35.4% 10.1% 20.7% 0.278 0.386 142
2017 Kris Bryant 45.6% 78.7% 9.7% 37.9% 14.2% 18.8% 0.243 0.393 141
2016 Mookie Betts 41.2% 87.3% 5.2% 41.4% 6.7% 11.0% 0.216 0.379 135
2016 Matt Carpenter 38.6% 82.6% 6.7% 30.6% 14.3% 19.1% 0.235 0.375 135
2016 Edwin Encarnacion 42.6% 77.9% 9.4% 38.2% 12.4% 19.7% 0.266 0.373 134
2017 Anthony Rizzo 46.1% 83.8% 7.5% 40.5% 13.0% 12.9% 0.242 0.380 133
2016 Jung Ho Kang 40.7% 77.7% 9.1% 42.3% 9.7% 21.4% 0.258 0.369 133
2016 Kyle Seager 42.6% 82.7% 7.3% 36.1% 10.2% 16.0% 0.221 0.363 133
2016 Brian Dozier 43.8% 79.0% 9.1% 36.4% 8.8% 20.0% 0.278 0.370 132
2016 Carlos Santana 39.1% 81.7% 7.2% 42.8% 14.4% 14.4% 0.239 0.370 132
2017 Andrew McCutchen 43.5% 80.5% 8.5% 40.5% 12.3% 17.1% 0.214 0.369 129
2017 Eugenio Suarez 41.7% 77.9% 9.2% 40.7% 14.0% 22.4% 0.228 0.375 128
2017 Travis Shaw 44.5% 81.1% 8.4% 43.3% 9.2% 22.6% 0.259 0.376 127
2017 Jose Ramirez 43.1% 87.5% 5.4% 40.3% 7.7% 11.8% 0.219 0.365 127
2017 Alex Bregman 44.0% 86.0% 6.2% 38.9% 9.9% 15.1% 0.209 0.360 127
2016 Carlos Beltran 46.0% 82.7% 7.9% 42.1% 5.9% 17.0% 0.217 0.358 124
2016 Justin Turner 44.4% 84.0% 7.1% 36.1% 7.7% 17.2% 0.218 0.353 124
2016 Jonathan Lucroy 43.1% 81.8% 7.8% 37.2% 8.6% 18.4% 0.208 0.362 123
2016 Ian Kinsler 44.9% 85.2% 6.6% 31.6% 6.6% 16.9% 0.196 0.356 123
2016 Luis Valbuena 43.0% 77.7% 9.5% 36.5% 12.9% 23.7% 0.199 0.351 123
2017 Jake Lamb 40.2% 77.7% 9.0% 42.0% 13.7% 24.1% 0.264 0.370 122
2016 Jose Bautista 36.6% 80.2% 7.2% 39.5% 16.8% 19.9% 0.217 0.355 122
2017 Dexter Fowler 42.4% 81.5% 7.8% 39.4% 13.4% 19.2% 0.225 0.360 121
2017 Matt Carpenter 34.8% 83.3% 5.8% 27.6% 16.4% 19.1% 0.194 0.354 117
2016 Jason Kipnis 43.0% 81.9% 7.8% 38.9% 8.7% 21.2% 0.193 0.347 117
2017 Brian Dozier 41.2% 78.4% 8.9% 40.9% 10.7% 20.6% 0.220 0.348 115
2017 Curtis Granderson 37.7% 82.1% 6.8% 32.0% 14.1% 22.6% 0.261 0.347 115
2017 Seth Smith 40.5% 81.3% 7.6% 41.2% 9.8% 20.3% 0.192 0.347 114
2016 Justin Bour 44.0% 77.6% 9.6% 43.8% 11.8% 17.4% 0.211 0.343 114
2016 Curtis Granderson 36.6% 79.7% 7.4% 36.4% 11.7% 20.5% 0.228 0.339 114
2016 Logan Forsythe 39.6% 79.4% 8.2% 42.0% 8.1% 22.4% 0.180 0.336 113
2016 Bryce Harper 42.7% 79.2% 8.6% 40.4% 17.2% 18.7% 0.198 0.343 112
2016 Anthony Rendon 42.7% 84.9% 6.4% 35.7% 10.0% 18.1% 0.180 0.342 112
2017 Carlos Santana 40.2% 82.3% 7.1% 40.4% 13.3% 15.6% 0.196 0.342 112
2016 Albert Pujols 46.2% 85.7% 6.6% 43.9% 7.5% 11.5% 0.189 0.331 111
2017 Brett Gardner 36.0% 84.6% 5.6% 42.7% 11.3% 18.6% 0.181 0.337 109
2016 Gregory Polanco 46.2% 81.4% 8.5% 38.8% 9.0% 20.3% 0.205 0.331 108
2017 Kyle Seager 44.0% 81.2% 8.3% 31.5% 8.0% 16.2% 0.191 0.326 106
2016 Troy Tulowitzki 44.5% 81.1% 8.4% 40.5% 7.9% 18.6% 0.189 0.327 102
2016 Marcus Semien 45.6% 78.1% 10.0% 39.4% 8.2% 22.4% 0.197 0.315 100
2017 Max Kepler 43.2% 80.5% 8.4% 43.2% 8.2% 18.7% 0.185 0.320 96
2016 Michael Conforto 44.1% 78.4% 9.5% 36.2% 10.3% 25.6% 0.194 0.312 96
2017 Jason Kipnis 45.6% 80.2% 9.0% 36.5% 7.5% 18.8% 0.182 0.296 80
League Average 42.2% 82.0% 7.6% 38.3% 11.5% 17.3% 0.223 0.374 131
– All seasons 2007-2017 with 300PAs
– Swinging Strike Rate between 5% and 10%
– Below average contact (77.6%)
– Above average swing rate (46.4%)
– Below average ground ball rate (44.2%)
– ISO above .180
– n=274

That’s a pretty impressive list. I have included my selection criteria in the footnotes if anyone wants to dig into this some more. I tried to keep the selections pretty simple. First, Hoskins has carried above average swinging strike and contact rates throughout his minor league career. Instead of selecting too much, I just use above or below league average as my selections, with the exception of ISO and swinging strike. (For swinging strike, I wanted to remove players with rates below 5%). These filters gave us a sample of 274 players since 2007. From this list, we can see that in total, the results fall heavily in Hoskins favor with an average wOBA of .374 for the group (remember, I am only showing 2016-2017, but all seasons since 2007 are included in this calculation). Sure, there are some bad seasons in the mix, like 2015 Stephen Drew, or 2007 Chris Snyder. However, there are also good versions of Justin Morneau and Jose Bautista, along with Mike Trout. (No, I am not saying Hoskins will be Mike Trout.) If we want to look at players with most common occurrences over this roughly 11 year span. We have 8 years of Curtis Granderson, David Ortiz, Edwin Encarnacion, and Mark Teixeira. 7 years of Jose Bautista, and 6 years of Andrew McCutchen, Joey Votto, and Paul Konerko.

As the trade deadline approaches in Ottoneu leagues, I would buy high on Hoskins. Yes, he will cost a lot, and most owners caution the adage of buying low and selling high. However, in this case, it is likely that despite the hype, he will be undervalued, and should be firmly implanted in the top tier of bargains within FGpts leagues. Judge and Bellinger have a ton of hype. Both are fantastic, and they should cost a lot in a trade. I believe Rhys Hoskins should be valued similarly.

We hoped you liked reading Aaron Judge, Cody Bellinger… Rhys Hoskins? by Joe Douglas!

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Joe works at a consulting firm in Pittsburgh. When he isn't working or studying for actuarial exams, he focuses on baseball. He also writes @thepointofpgh. Follow him on twitter @Ottoneutrades

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johansantana17
Member
johansantana17

Someone in my league dropped Hoskins two days ago and I just won the waiver claim on him. He dropped him right after his first inning HR on Thursday. I was flabbergasted. This guy has been making good moves all season! And he dropped Hoskins for Rajai Davis! I didn’t even have to buy high on him!

Oleg
Member
Oleg

Wow. That’s really interesting. Can you share some more about the transactions in your league?