Early in this spring camp, San Diego Padres’ first baseman Eric Hosmer is working hard to improve his defense.
The San Diego Padres expect improvements in many areas for the 2020 season.
At times throughout the year last season, the defense failed. A new stat developed by Statcast to recognize defensive skill is called OAA (Outs Above Replacement). The San Diego Padres, as a team, came in dead last with minus 23 OAA in 2019. In other words, the team was 23 runs under a league-average defensive team, which is not productive at all.
Eric Hosmer, at the first base position, the least demanding position in the infield, posted a minus 6 OAA while committing 14 errors last year. According to FanGraphs, in 2019, Hosmer rated minus 4 Defensive Runs Saved (DRS) at first base. For a former three-time Gold Glove award-winner, this is inexcusable. The Padres expect more from Hosmer, who should help anchor the defense on the infield, not be a hindrance.
In Peoria, this spring, the Florida native is working hard.
There are several reports and videos of the first baseman putting in extra work with the glove. Hosmer is out early with infield coaches and is utilizing new techniques to improve his hand-eye coordination and his footwork at the position. There will be vast improvements in 2020 from the 30-year-old.
Take a look at this series of tweets showing Hosmer putting in the work.
Hosmer is one of the first ones out today to get some work in pic.twitter.com/cDmfbH3bpD
— MachadoTatis2020 (@Ben_Chavez1869) February 17, 2020
The Padres have every intention to complete this 2020 season on a positive note, and an improved defense will go a long way to ensure that happens. If the Padres can get results from a veteran like Hosmer, they will surely get through to the younger players on the team in regards to improving their defense. The Padres posses many young players in the system, and it is only a matter of time before the next prospect is up.
In an attempt to bolster the defense and add a coach who will get through to the players, the team added Bobby Dickerson to the staff this winter. The 10-year coaching veteran is admired for his ability to use old-school techniques and do so in an entertaining way. Padres’ fans will adore Dickerson as he brings personality to the coaching staff. The baseball lifer also brings accountability.
Bobby Dickerson’s infield drills and banter are a must if you’re coming to Peoria. pic.twitter.com/4mX4NfzIUw
— Kevin Acee (@sdutKevinAcee) February 13, 2020
Dickerson is not afraid to talk. He pushes his players and motivates them with words. Some may be taken back by this, but his words come from the heart.
Manny Machado is not a stranger to Dickerson, and his style, as the two spent several years together in Baltimore. The Padres are attempting a more aggressive approach to get results from the unit. If the team fails during the season, expect there to be repercussions. The older coaches on the staff expect more from this group of players.
— Steve Virissimo (@Radioguy76) February 14, 2020
Bobby Dickerson is sure to get results from several infielders. Jurickson Profar and his throwing problems are also something that the coach is trying to solve this spring. Fernando Tais, Jr. should also show improved numbers with the glove in 2020.
For the Padres, improved defense from Hosmer, who is due $102 million for the next six years, is vital. The team cannot continue to receive subpar defense from a player who is regarded as a significant factor for the team. Early in camp, Hosmer is putting in the work to rectify his defensive issues. Hopefully, for Padres fans, this extra effort will translate into another Gold-Glove year for the first baseman.