Rhys Hoskins knows how to hit a baseball out of the park. He did it at nearby Jesuit High School. He did it at Sac State. Now the former Hornet slugger is clearing the fences in the big leagues.
The Philadelphia Phillies left fielder is taking Major League Baseball (MLB) by storm. He hit his first 10 home runs faster than any player in MLB history and tied the Phillies record with five long balls in five straight games. He’s also the first major leaguer to hit 14 home runs in fewer than 35 games. Through 31 games, Hoskins’ stat line included a .296 batting average, 14 home runs and 32 RBIs. His hot start earned him National League Rookie of the Month honors for August.
Hoskins, 24, isn’t just making plays with his bat. The 6-foot-4, 225-pound Sacramento native started the Phillies’ first triple play since 1953 with a highlight-reel sliding catch.
After playing for Sac State for three seasons, Hoskins was drafted following his junior year by Philadelphia in the fifth round (142nd overall pick) in 2014. After spending parts of four seasons in the minor leagues, Hoskins was called up by the Phillies on Aug. 10. He’s the first Hornet to play in the big leagues since Roland de la Maza, who pitched for the 1997 Kansas City Royals.
In an ESPN profile of Hoskins, Sacramento State head baseball coach Reggie Christiansen said, “He’s a pretty special kid, no doubt.” He said following Hoskins’ performance is “like watching a Disney movie.”
Hoskins, a former Western Athletic Conference (WAC) Player of the Year and three-time Academic All-WAC athlete, shares that special bond with Christiansen and the Hornet Baseball program.
“Reggie Christiansen and his staff taught me the true meaning of accountability, and how a persistent work ethic can set you apart from the rest,” Hoskins said in an email. “They gave me an opportunity to learn about the game of baseball, but also put me in the best situation to figure out what it means to be a good teammate and a better man. I am forever grateful to Reggie and Sacramento State.”