(Editor’s note: This story appears under Kevin’s name, but Bob wrote it)
This baseball season is still young enough where it’s way, way too early to draw any definitive conclusions about what we’ve seen so far. It’s easy to get caught up in the results of a small sample, particularly after a big win, or a bad “L” like the Phillies took from the Mets last night.
For instance, Aaron Nola wasn’t effective, again. He looks nothing like the Cy Young candidate he was last season. You probably have heard by now that Nola didn’t allow five runs in a single start last season. Well, he has now allowed at least five earned runs in three consecutive starts after last night’s clunker. Should we panic? It would be easy to say this morning that Nola looks destined to repeat Cole Hamels’ letdown 2009 season, but it’s April 16th. It’s been four starts. His struggles to establish strike one, spot his fastball, and find his changeup have all plagued him in the early going, but there’s no reason to think he’s doomed yet. If the results don’t change by month’s end, then we can revisit this.
I would argue the same caution should be taken with regards to Rhys Hoskins’ early defense. It, too, hasn’t been good. His error last night allowed the go-ahead run to score and it was yet another late-game blunder that directly contributed to a loss.
A montage, following the jump:
There was last night’s gaffe, a dropped pop up that led to a leadoff walk which eventually scored on a three-run homer in the Twins loss, and the routine missed throw from Seranthony Dominguez which allowed Washington to tie a game up late. Each killed the Phillies and each were plays a Major League first baseman should make.
Through 15 games, Hoskins ranks 22nd among 22 qualified first baseman in fielding percentage, which, admittedly, isn’t the most accurate way to quantify defensive value. Perhaps more telling is that his -3 defensive runs saved also ranks last and that his -1.7 “Def” rating (Fielding Runs Above Average + positional adjustment) is 18th among among first basemen. That’s pretty brutal, and while Hoskins will never been in the conversation for a Gold Glove Award, I’d still exercise a little patience as he continues to transition back to first base after pointlessly spending a season in left field.
Like Nola, Hoskins’ early defensive struggles are a little concerning, but I’m willing to also give him a bit more time to get his footing and acclimate to the position before I bang the panic button.