Jason Vosler is creating an unexpected first base controversy for Padres
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.
Chris is a graduate of the University of San Diego. He is the former Sports Editor for the USDVista newspaper. Chris is also an athlete and is huge fan of San Diego sports. Chris has covered the San Diego Loyal, and contributes regularly about the Padres.
We will need to send productive players down to the minors. Not a bad thing in all reality. AJ will not be able to trade Hosmer… EVER. So, AJ will play him until fans insist otherwise and force his hand… or, he’s fired (fingers crossed). AJ has given three large contracts. Two have proven thus far to be BAD contracts. Hosmer and Myers have not lived up to their contracts. The third did not have a good year last year. AJ has shown he’s not great at contracts. He’s overpaid on at least two of these. I believe all three.
We can hope both Myers and Hosmer have bounce back years with a new manager and team energy. Manny can also produce more should he decide he wishes to play hard more often than he does.
If Vosges has options left, assume he’ll be stashed at AAA along with a few other players who would have earned playing time a few years ago. That does show we are a better team than a few years ago.
Unfortunately, this is typical for the Padres. They play the person with the long-term contract, not the player who can best help the team. Vosler or Ty France would help the team much more than Hosmer, but they can’t trade him or get out of the contract, so Hosmer will continue to play a subpar first base and not hit well. Hosmer even has trouble pulling the ball; his best years are behind him, but Preller would never bench someone making that much money.
Those are not good numbers for the minors, especially with last years inflated numbers.
It is spring training, which means next to nothing, and it is only a handful of games.
I’d much rather have Ty France.
Even if Albert Pujols was on the team, and in his prime, Preller would still make sure Hosmer would bat cleanup in every game.
“Those are not good numbers for the minors” is plain false. Not a single player on the padres AAA team had as many ABs and that good of a line.
Agreed that ST and AAA numbers don’t translate to MLB numbers, but saying what he did wasn’t impressive is wrong.
Let’s get one thing straight, Hosmer is not going anywhere. He’s got a jumbo contract and Is going to be the starting 1b. Vosler plays 3b but guess who’s also there. He’s not an outfielder but can catch a flyball. So that tells me the only way he stays on the team is if he’s just absolutely killing it and looks like you can’t get him out. All While the other bench guys trying to make the team struggle, then and only then will Vosler make the team.