Jason Vosler is having a great spring and could force the San Diego Padres to create playing time for him.
The San Diego Padres came into Spring Training with their mindset on Eric Hosmer as the starting first baseman for the 2020 season. The former All-Star has started just about every game at first base since signing with San Diego in 2018, and there really isn’t anything holding him out of starting another 140 plus games this season, for now.
Although, the recent play from up-and-coming prospect Jason Vosler, might give manager Jayce Tingler something to think about when putting together the final roster.
San Diego acquired Vosler in a trade with the Cubs when the Padres sent relief pitcher Rowan Wick (8.1 IP, 0-1 with a 6.48 ERA) to Chicago at the end of 2018.
Before being traded, Vosler posted impressive numbers in the minors for Chicago. He hit 44 home runs and 47 doubles in 258 games between 2017 and 2018 with the Double-A Tennessee Smokies and Triple-A Iowa Cubs. The left-handed hitter posted a .772 OPS in 2017 and a .797 OPS between Double-A/Triple-A in 2018.
Vosler remained in Triple-A and played for the Padres’ affiliate El Paso Chihuahuas last season, where he continued to impress with the bat. In 375 at-bats, the lefty batted .291 with 109 hits and 63 RBIs. He finished the season with 20 home runs, 19 doubles, and a career-high .890 OPS.
Those numbers were enough for the former Northeastern University product to be invited to Peoria, Arizona this spring, to compete for a chance at the 26 man roster.
So far this spring, Vosler has played in a total of eight games (including Tuesday’s 9-0 win over Milwaukee) and has really showcased his offensive ability. The lefty has notched eight hits in 14 at-bats, including three doubles and a home run. He is batting an exceptional .571 and has driven in six RBIs, while only striking out twice.
Vosler can play the two corner infield spots and has spent most of his time at first base this spring, with one appearance at third and another in the DH spot. He has come off the bench for a majority of his action, but in two starts at first, he went against big league pitchers going 4-for-7 combined with his only home run.
Jason Vosler is leading the entire MLB in batting average (.571) and OPS (1.647) against hitters with as many at-bats as he does at 14 so far this spring. If these jaw-dropping numbers continue to impress, then he should see himself as a serious candidate to play first base for the Padres more sooner than later — especially with the recent, unimpressive numbers from Hosmer.
Hosmer’s last two seasons with San Diego haven’t been as he had hoped, and he will have to be back to his 2017 form if he wants to keep his starting role. Hosmer also struggles against lefties for his career as he has a career line of .251/.298/.364.
The former World Series Champion batted .318 with 25 home runs and 104 RBIs in 2017 but followed his career-best season with two inconsistent years in San Diego.
2018 was a different story as he finished his debut season with the Padres batting only .253 with 18 home runs and 69 RBIs. Hosmer actually improved in certain areas in 2019, batting .265 with 22 home runs and 99 RBIs, but had a career-high 163 strikeouts and only walked a total of 40 times.
The team seems to have high hopes for Hosmer coming into this season. Only time will tell for now if Hosmer will be the Padres’ everyday first baseman this season.
One thing is for sure though, and that is that the team wants to win now, and they are willing to do whatever it takes to do so. If Jason Vosler continues to light up Arizona, don’t be surprised if he finds a way into this Padres’ lineup one way or another.