Buy ‘Em or Deny ‘Em: Is It Time To Give Up On Eric Hosmer?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

The Royals’ Eric Hosmer is one of those players that is often hyped as a breakout candidate, yet we continually wait for him to actually put it all together. Last season was no different, as he posted the following disappointing line:

503 At Bats
.270 Batting Average (136 Hits)
9 Home Runs
58 RBI
54 Runs
4 Stolen Bases
.318 On Base Percentage
.398 Slugging Percentage
.312 Batting Average on Balls in Play

His production fell across the board but, as a first baseman, it’s obviously the power that’s the most alarming. From a position that’s supposed to yield significant home runs, Hosmer has never hit more than 19 in the Majors. The first question has to be, is there hope?

The biggest issue is that he continually drives the ball into the ground. Just look at the groundball rates from his four seasons in the Majors:

  • 2011 – 49.7%
  • 2012 – 53.6%
  • 2013 – 52.7%
  • 2014 – 51.2%

When he did out the ball in the air last season he posted an average distance on non-groundballs of 268.604. That was down from his 2013 mark of 274.921 and doesn’t inspire much hope (though it does give us a little).

You would think the number would justify him returning to the 15-19 type range, as he generally has been, but that in and of itself isn’t enough. Last season there were 19 players eligible at first base to hit at least 20 home runs…

Over the first three years of his career Hosmer added an element of speed, with 11+ SB. That number fell last season and, unless he’s going to steal 20-25, which he hasn’t shown possible, a few more wont do enough to offset the deficit he puts you in the power department.

There will be cries that he can help in average. Sure he doesn’t strike out much (15.5% for his career), but which of these line drive rates don’t seem to belong:

  • 2011 – 18.7%
  • 2012 – 18.5%
  • 2013 – 22.4%
  • 2014 – 16.9%

He is still just 25-years old, so we can’t simply just write him off and forget about him. However, as a first baseman it’s also hard to justify rolling the dice.

He hasn’t shown the power, nor does the upside appear to be there…

He doesn’t have significant speed…

Even the average is questionable…

There are too many questions and not enough answers. I’d much rather take a gamble elsewhere and leave Hosmer for someone else to overpay for.

Sources – Fangraphs, Baseball Heat Maps, CBS Sports

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One comment

  1. Bbboston says:

    He’s got the talent and the raw power, but way too long a swing….. Pitchers have figured him out and he either adapts his swing to major league pitching or he fails. It’s as simple as bringing his hands in to their launching position prior to the ball being delivered far earlier… He insists on keeping his hands out away from his body and waving them around. That’s because he’s comfortable with a big looping swing, not a compact inside-out swing. Brett had that fixed somewhat for a short while, but Hosmer went back to his bad habits.

    He can do it, but time is running out. Adapt or die Eric Hosmer.

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