By Mike Petriello MLB.com @mike_petriello
Apr. 4th, 2018
“Hitting’s hard. It really is.”
Phillies slugger Rhys Hoskins is one of the better young sluggers in the game, having crushed 18 homers in just 50 games in 2017, and he sat down with the Statcast™ Podcast to explain how he approaches life at the plate in the world of launch angle and exit velocity.
For Hoskins, it’s not just about getting the ball in the air. It’s about having an approach that allows you to not have to be absolutely perfect every time in order to be successful.
“I think being ‘on plane’ gives you the best chance to hit all different pitches throughout the strike zone,” Hoskins said, referring, in a way, to the classic Ted Williams approach. “I think it makes your swing stay in the strike zone as long as possible. I think when your barrel is in the zone for a long time, you’re giving more room for error.”
Even stars have hitters they want to be like. For Hoskins, the first names he mentioned were a pair of Cubs, in part because analytically inclined Phillies hitting coach John Mallee held the same job in Chicago for the previous three seasons.
“There’s a couple guys on the Cubs that I watch a lot,” Hoskins noted. “Ian Happ and Anthony Rizzo, two guys that kind of have a similar leg kick to what I employ, also guys that Mallee has worked with, so it’s been really cool to hear him talk about them and their routines and what they go through. Those are two guys off the top of my head.
“Obviously, if you want to talk about approach-wise and maybe similar stature, I’ll go to Paul Goldschmidt, and who doesn’t like watching Mike Trout hit. Obviously those guys are pretty good at what they do, and watching them can only help.”
Also on this week’s show, Mike and Matt dig into the early-season feats of Shohei Ohtani, who is setting Statcast™ marks on both sides of the ball.
In addition, the show looks at early season notable Statcast™ metrics, including record-setting homers from Avisail Garcia, Marcell Ozuna and Giancarlo Stanton; elite velocity from St. Louis rookie Jordan Hicks; early looks on expected production from Jose Martinez, Miguel Cabrera and Yasiel Puig; Seth Lugolooking dominant in relief; Jorge Alfaro‘s cannon of a throwing arm; and the entirely predictable (and effective) move of Gerrit Cole to throw fewer fastballs with Houston.
Mike Petriello is an analyst for MLB.com and the host of the Statcast podcast.