Why Eric Hosmer Really Isn’t That Bad

Credit: AP Photo

Ever since Dennis Lin reported on the Padres potential interest in former Royals first-baseman Eric Hosmer, the team’s fanbase (and more specifically Padres twitter) has been noticeably divided. Friends have become enemies and enemies have reached mutual understandings with one another as many camps have discussed the potential signing of the free agent 1st baseman.

Hosmer’s weaknesses have been well documented, but this writer is here to convince Padres fans that signing Eric Hosmer is, in fact, a great move for the Friars. His above average offensive output, underrated (formerly overrated) defensive ability, and killer intangibles are a great fit for a rebuilding team aiming for a not-so-distant playoff run.

Now, let’s take a look at what makes Hosmer so great.

First, Hosmer’s offensive numbers by year (via baseball-reference):

2017 was no doubt a career year for Hosmer as he slashed .318/.385/.498 for a .882 OPS while putting up 135 wRC+ (7th among MLB first basemen), playing in all of his team’s 162 games. He also ranked 7th among MLB first basemen in K% at 15.5%, showing he isn’t much of a free swinger as far as other first basemen are concerned. Over the course of his career, Eric has gained a reputation for being inconsistent from year to year, but that isn’t really a fair assessment.

Credit: Sporting News

By looking exclusively at the WAR stat (which I believe is a bit overrated), there really is an argument to be made about Hosmer lacking consistency, but a closer look at some of his adjusted numbers shows a more consistent hitter. The former Royal has posted an above average OPS every season of his career besides his sophomore campaign in 2012, which can only be looked at as a down year. Furthermore, Hosmer has failed to reach a 100 wRC+ only twice in his six big league seasons, meaning his offensive output was above league average every year since 2011, save for the 80 he put up in 2012 and the 98 he put up in 2014.

Since his debut in 2011 Hosmer has put up a 111 wRC+, which at first doesn’t look amazing as he ranks only 22nd among active 1st basemen over that same time period, but it begins to look a lot more respectable when it is realized that he is one of only seven 1st basemen to play 1000 games since his rookie season.

Guys like Justin Bour (366 games played) and Steve Pearce (526) rank ahead of Hosmer in terms of wRC+, but they have also played less than half as many games as him, which most definitely skews the data unfavorably for Hoz. That 1,000 games number holds great significance as it adds to the very solid argument regarding the 28-year-old’s durability. The only first baseman that has played more games than Eric Hosmer’s 1,048 is new Phillie Carlos Santana’s 170, and he is four years older than Hoz. He has played in fewer than 150 games twice in his big-league career, and one of those seasons was his debut season in 2011 where he got the call up in early May. Durability goes a long way in professional sports, and for a guy that is reportedly receiving seven-year offers (according to Bob Nightengale of USA Today), that track record of staying on the field is going to be a huge selling point.


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7 thoughts on “Why Eric Hosmer Really Isn’t That Bad

  1. Thanks for responding. I agree, and would love for them to pursue “high end talent.” That would be awesome. However, Hosmer is good, and not high end. I would also be greatly encouraged if the Padres pursued/obtained high end talent before next year, if the player was a pitcher, a SS, or even a an OF (which is a luxury, not a need), and was actually high end. Hosmer does not fit any of that. Galvis was an *illustration* of poor decision making, and a bad move, not comparing player-to-player. There was also the huge factor of getting just one year, a worthless year of non-competing, for something of value. Most teams would love to be on the opposite end of those kinds of trades.

    1. I think we can both agree that the Galvis trade was ill advised, but who knows. If they can somehow re-sign him (doubtful considering the 6.85 mil he’s getting this year) then the deal looks a little bit better. As far as Hosmer being considered a well above average player, well, I’m afraid that will be heavily debated so long as his WAR numbers continue to fluctuate. But I do believe he still has some potential and overlooked upside.

      1. Potential? Yes. Upside. Sure. It would be interesting to see how his supposed ground-ball-heavy swing would play at Petco, or even if that could be altered (as apparently others have) to be of a fly ball swing. By the way, I liked the stats you gave, and one of them was GDP, I would think a ground ball hitter would hit into more of those, do you know what the league average was, and how he compares? just a thought.

        1. Homer ended up T-11th in GDP in all of baseball. Interestingly enough, tied with Lorenzo Cain and grounded into 1 more DP than Jose Altuve. Guys who hit into more include Anthony Rizzo, Nolan Arenado, and DJ Lemahieu. He also hit the 3rd most GBs in all of baseball so I don’t think DPs are a huge factor, especially considering how many GBs he hits.

  2. Yes, Hosmer “really isn’t that bad.” But signing him would be bad. It would be very harmful, overall, due to his position (displacing their highest paid player, and putting him into the OF, which is concerning), the amount of money, the length of the contract, etc. First base is the easiest to fill (and the Padres have several good candidates after Meyers, if need be: Priela, etc), so why put over 200 million into that position, and maybe 40 mil for the rest of the team! Signing him at 7/140 would be like signing an above average second baseman at 7/100-120 mil. How does that help? It would not, and it just clog things up. Signing him makes even less sense than the trade for Galvis … which is like the Lakers trading a late first round/early second round pick for ONE year of a slightly above average rotation player.

    1. Thank you for the feedback, it’s much appreciated. Displacing the team’s highest paid player shouldn’t stop the team from pursuing high end talent though. I completely agree that 1st base is an easy position to fill because of the over saturated market, but the Padres wouldn’t be “filling a need” with a Hosmer signing as much as they would be adding high end talent before said high end talent becomes too expensive. The free agent class next year is monstrously good, so why not get ahead of the market and sign a great player now? The Galvis trade and signing Hosmer aren’t comparable transactions. Hosmer is far and away the better player and with him you’re sacrificing a non 1st round pick as opposed to a young boom or bust starter (De los Santos) that may very well see ML time this season. I do understand your concerns though.

      1. I agree with this article. The Padres need an influx of talent more than anything else. My question for those against signing Hosmer, who are you spending $140 mil? Which free agent is begging to play for a rebuilding team?
        Also, they signed Myers knowing they could move him.

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