Hoskins, Crawford impressing with discipline

Young Phillies duo demonstrating knowledge of strike zone

Hoskins, Crawford impressing with discipline

PHILADELPHIA -- If there's one thing general manager Matt Klentak and the Phillies' front office appreciate, it's players that control the strike zone, be it pitchers or hitters. It's impacted everything from roster construction to Draft tendencies to determining the correct time to call up prospects.

J.P. Crawford and Rhys Hoskins, two top offensive standouts who have gotten their first big league experience in the second half of this season, have displayed an aptitude for those abilities, despite their youth and inexperience. The pair combined to draw three walks in Wednesday's series-clinching 7-5 win over the Nationals.

Hoskins' .404 on-base percentage and Crawford's .351 mark would rank first and third, respectively, among qualified Phillies hitters, if they had enough plate appearances to qualify.

"That's what they were doing down there in the Minor Leagues, too," Phillies outfielder Aaron Altherr said. "It's nothing new. The approach doesn't change, or it shouldn't change. It's still the same game, it's just a matter of getting the nerves under control. It doesn't surprise me at all that they've been able to do that."

Hoskins' impressive start to his MLB career -- which included hitting 11 home runs and being named National League Rookie of the Month in August -- enraptured the team. The underlying reasons for Hoskins' breakout were impeccable discipline and pitch selection.

Although Hoskins is mired in a 5-for-40 slump since his last homer 14 games ago, his plate discipline hasn't wavered, as he's drawn eight walks in that span. Just eight of 147 qualified hitters in the Majors have a higher OBP than Hoskins.

Crawford, the club's No. 4 prospect per MLBPipeline.com, didn't draw a walk until his seventh career game, when he walked twice against the Marlins on Sept. 12. Five days later, he drew a trio of walks, and then three more just three games later. He became the first Phillie to record multiple three-walk outings in his first 15 big league games.

Since Crawford's first walk, he and Hoskins have drawn 28 combined. The rest of the Phillies have combined for 29 in that time.

"Just a matter of getting my feet settled down and being comfortable in the box," Crawford said after his second three-walk game.

While Crawford isn't known for his power like Hoskins, his own ability to dictate at-bats by handling the strike zone with veteran-like instincts projects him as a viable top-of-the-order hitter in years to come. His 18.2-percent walk rate is two times better than the average Major League hitter.

"I think he's got a chance to be that guy," manager Pete Mackanin said.

Since his first walk, Crawford has drawn 14 total and struck out just 13 times. He is second on the team with a .404 on-base percentage, despite starting 4-for-20 with no walks in his first six games.

"He's held his own," Mackanin said.

Ben Harris is a reporter for MLB.com based in Philadelphia. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.