The defending National League champion Philadelphia Phillies will likely be without two-time NL MVP Bryce Harper until around midseason as he recovers from offseason surgery, and on Thursday suffered another serious blow when first baseman Rhys Hoskins went down with a serious-looking knee injury on a non-contact fielding play in Grapefruit League action against Detroit.
Tigers batter Austin Meadows hit a chopper down the first-base line and Hoskins attempted to make a play on the ball in shallow right field. As he fielded the ball, his left knee took an awkward turn and Hoskins dropped to the ground in pain. He had to be carted off.
We may not know until Friday just how serious the injury could be, but it couldn't come at a more inopportune time for Hoskins. The slugging first baseman is a key contributor for the Phillies and is set for free agency after this season.
The 30-year-old hit .246 with 30 homers, 79 RBI and a .794 OPS in 156 games last season, good for a WAR of 3.1. In the Phillies' surprise postseason run, Hoskins hit only .159 in 17 games but tallied six homers and 12 RBI.
At various sportsbooks, he had been given over/under totals of 29.5 home runs and 84.5 RBI this season. At Caesars, he's +4000 to lead the majors in RBI, +6000 in homers and +7500 to win NL MVP. SportsLine Fantasy expert Ariel Cohen forecast Hoskins to hit .238 with 28 HRs and 83 RBI this year.
Hoskins was hitting cleanup on Thursday and was expected to bat in the middle of the order this season after hitting second the majority of last season – he is being bumped down at least one spot with the Phillies adding All-Star shortstop Trea Turner in free agency. Turner will lead off and former leadoff hitter Kyle Schwarber will likely hit second.
Philadelphia, which has a season win total of 88.5, opens the season next Thursday in Texas. Darick Hall, who filled in at DH when Harper was hurt last season, could be an option at first base if Hoskins misses an extended period of time. Alec Bohm is listed as a backup at first but also is the team's starting third baseman.
So which 2023 Fantasy baseball busts, breakouts, and sleepers should you target or fade in your drafts? Visit SportsLine's Fantasy baseball cheat sheets now to get rankings for every single position, all from the model that called Joey Votto's disappointing season, and find out.
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