The Phillies have a pair of "bash brothers" in Reading.
And one of them came out of nowhere.
A big, intimidating 6-foot-4 and 225 pounds, Rhys Hoskins is flexing power like no one else at the Double-A level — except perhaps for Dylan Cozens, who is also making noise in Reading.
Ranked the 19th best prospect in the Phils' system prior to the regular season, 23-year-old Hoskins had a six RBI, two home run game Tuesday for the red-hot (61-24) Reading Fightins. This a day after the slugger was named the Phillies' minor league hitter of the month.
In June, he batted .351 with nine doubles, 13 homers (more than half of his season total) and 33 RBI in addition to 11 walks and a .784 slugging percentage. It might just be the minors, but it's got to intrigue the Phillies' front office. After all, the club is trotting either Ryan Howard (.151 average) or Tommy Joseph (.232) out to first base every night. Neither is contributing enough to look like the future of the position.
Hoskins is batting .287 with 24 homers and 75 RBI on the season. His RBI total is the most in the minors, three more than Cozens has. His homers are too, after Tuesday's outburst which lifted him past teammate Cozens (who has 23).
"I'm going to go ahead and say he'll hit one tomorrow, considering how it's been going between the two of us. Honestly, I hope he hits two or three tomorrow … means win by a good margin," Hoskins told MLB.com Tuesday after a 9-7 victory over RIchmond. "I think we've made each other better, to be honest."
One has to wonder how long the duo will remain in Double-A, as the Phils desperately need consistent power at the major league level.
They might have to wait a little longer, though, as Philadelphia has recently exploded at the plate. The big league club has slugged 22 homers in its last 14 games with a MLB best 61 extra base hits in that span (through Tuesday).
Eventually, like they did after their 24-17 start (on May 18), Philly will fall back to earth. They'll be sellers at the trade deadline and looking for pieces to build around as the next era of competitiveness (they hope) approaches. And with a combined 47 homers in a season's worth of games thus far, Hoskins and Cozens will be a part of the conversation this fall.