Top 6 first basemen in the Sally, part 1

photo courtesy of baseball ross

I’m continuing to work my way around the diamond with this series I started last week with the catchers position.  In part one of the 1st basemen list  I’ll be discussing Rhys Hoskins (Lakewood, Phillies), Ryan O’Hearn (Lexington, Royals), and KJ Woods (Greensboro, Marlins).

Part 2 of this list will be up soon and that will include Roberto Ramos (Asheville, Rockies), Nick Longhi (Greenville, Red Sox), and Ronald Guzman (Hickory, Rangers).

Whenever I do a prospect list it’s for dynasty fantasy baseball purposes so I’m really ranking the bats.

Rhys Hoskins- (22) One of the best hitters I’ve seen all season. Hoskins stands 6’4″ and weighs 225 lbs.  Bats and throws right.  He’s got a long swing with above average bat speed and the ball really jumps when he connects.  Rhys makes good contact for a big man (17% K rate).  He utilizes all fields but all of his 16 home runs have been to his pull side or to center.  Hoskins has a .202 ISO in 2015.  He’s got some lift in his swing and he’s sporting a 41% fly ball rate, which is really good.  For reference, Jim Thome, Ryan Howard and Manny Ramirez all (with the exception of an outlier or two) stayed in that 36-45% range.   Obviously the more balls in the air the better for a big man.  Defensively he spent some time in right field in 2014 but he’s been a 1st base only player this yr so that looks to be his home going forward.

I watched him hit batting practice here in Asheville and he’s got monster raw power,  with nearly all of the shots going to center and left center where he consistently  cleared the 370′ foot wall. Often by a wide margin.

Here we get a good look at his swing courtesy of fangraphs.





Ryan O’Hearn ready to rake. photo courtesy of nky tribune

Ryan O’Hearn- (22) Listed at 6’3″ 200 lbs.  I’d guess he’s 20 lbs heavier than that.  O’Hearn bats and throws left handed.  He’s got that smooth lefty swing with lift that’s a little on the long side, and he’s had some issues with swing and miss ( 30% K rate).   O’Hearn has blasted 27 bombs this year and he has shown that he can hit the ball out to any part of the park, though most of his shots have been pulled or to dead center. On the year he’s sporting a .224 ISO.  O’Hearn hangs in there alright vs lefties

A closer look at the numbers reveals a 31% flyball rate which is certainly on the low side so his HR to flyball rate is 29% which is very high.  In case you’re wondering Manny Ramirez averaged 20%, Jim Thome 27%, and Ryan Howard 25%.  O’Hearn also has a 49% ground ball rate this season which is quite a bit higher than the others.  From my limited number of looks I know he has some lift in his swing.  I suspect we’ll see a lot of variance from year to year with O’Hearn’s HR totals unless he starts to put more balls in the air.  He’s worth watching for sure.

Here’s a good look at O’Hearns swing as he hits one out the other way and breaks the scoreboard in left center.  Courtesy of minor league baseball.




KJ Woods- (20)  Everytime I see KJ Woods open stance and his hands held high I have visions of Mo Vaughn (he just needs to crouch a bit).  Woods is listed at 6’3″ 230 lbs he bats left and throws right. Early on this season he got some time in left field but the last 70 games or so he’s been either 1st base or designated hitter.  I think it’s safe to assume the experiment is over.  At the plate Woods has a big swing and he’s had some trouble with swing and miss (38% K rate) but they’re way up this month so could be some fatigue there.  He’s got a pretty fast bat and huge raw power and he has shown the ability to hit the ball out to all fields.  His ISO sits at .234 on the season. Woods hangs in there vs lefties.  I watched him lace a single to right the other day vs Greenville Drive lefty Jalen Beeks.

Like O’Hearn,  Woods hits a lot of balls on the ground.  42% of his batted balls are on the ground compared to just 29% fly balls.  Again there’s lift there but maybe an adjustment is needed.

Here’s a look at KJ Woods crushing one, easy power. courtesy of HoppinFun



Of the three prospects with big time power Hoskins definitely has the least amount of questions but all three have big ceilings.  I’ll be back soon with part two of this list as I look at Roberto Ramos (Asheville), Nick Longhi (Greenville) and Ronald Guzman (Hickory).

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