Two of the Phillies' top prospects, first baseman Rhys Hoskins and catcher Jorge Alfaro, are off to tremendous starts at the plate with Triple-A Lehigh Valley this season and after each multi-hit game, Phillies fans wonder when they'll be called up.
Hoskins is hitting .337 with a 1.083 OPS, seven home runs and 16 RBIs through 102 plate appearances, leading the league in homers and in OPS by nearly 100 points. This after a 38-homer season at Double-A in 2016.
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Alfaro, one of the most highly-touted offensive catchers in the minors, is hitting .318 with a .831 OPS for the IronPigs.
But a call-up of either player is not imminent, according to Phillies general manager Matt Klentak.
"Look, this is Rhys's first taste of Triple-A," Klentak said Friday. "He's off to an incredible start, though I'll add not necessarily all that more incredible than what he did at Lakewood, where he was awesome, what he did at Clearwater, and what he did at Reading, where he was also awesome. He's just a really good offensive player.
"We're pleased with that but I'm not ready to concede that after 90 plate appearances that Tommy Joseph has forgotten how to hit and we're going to turn to Rhys at this early stage. That's not to minimize what Rhys has done, he's been outstanding, and he's outstanding in key areas. His pitch recognition skills continue to improve, he hits with power to all fields, he does a lot of the things we want to see. He's a month into his Triple-A career and we're happy to let him continue to get at-bats there."
Joseph is hitting just .192, which is why the cries for Hoskins have grown louder and louder. The situation behind the plate is different because Cameron Rupp is hitting well right now and Andrew Knapp has been a solid backup.
Rupp is 11 for 34 (.324) over his last nine games with five doubles, a homer and four walks.
"Our catching at the major-league level has been above average," Klentak said. "Andrew Knapp has over a .900 OPS and Cameron Rupp, I'm pretty sure entering today's game, is better than a league-average offensive player. He had a slow start but recently he's been good. I have no qualms at all with the catching at the major-league level and in fact, I think if we sized up against the rest of the league we're doing pretty well in that department."
Alfaro will not be up anytime soon. The Phillies want to give him as much experience as possible at Triple-A this season because this is his final option year and they would not be able to send him back to Triple-A next season without placing him on waivers, which won't happen.
But if the first-base situation continues over the next three or four weeks to play out as it has, with Hoskins hitting everything his way and Joseph struggling, things could change.
"We're always open-minded to having plans change," Klentak said, "and sometimes players dictate that."