2019 Projection: Is There Any Reason To Invest In Eric Hosmer, Besides The Name…

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

Was anyone surprised to see Eric Hosmer struggle in his first season in San Diego?  Sure he was coming off back-to-back 25 HR campaigns, but those were always hard to buy into given his propensity for groundballs.  Instead it was his poor average/on base percentage that really caused these numbers to be considered fairly disastrous:

613 At Bats
.253 Batting Average (155 Hits)
18 Home Runs
69 RBI
72 Runs
7 Stolen Bases
.322 On Base Percentage
.398 Slugging Percentage
.302 Batting Average on Balls in Play

There are a lot of factors that went into the average, and none of them truly indicate a significant improvement could be on the horizon.  That’s not to say that he won’t be better, but does anyone believe he can get back to 2017’s .318 mark?  Just consider the following for a player who has a lack of speed:

  • Groundball Rate – 60.4%
  • Hard% – 34.5%
  • SwStr% – 12.1%

The SwStr% was a career worst, and before we want to claim it was the move to the NL he never got on track.  You’d expect some type of improvement as he adjusted to how the new league was approaching him, but a 12.2% second half mark shows it never came.  Maybe he improves, given his track record, though he also struggled against all types of pitches with Whiff% of 20.59% against offspeed pitches and 18.69% against breaking balls.  It’s hard to bank on a significant improvement on his 21.0% strikeout rate, especially considering his 19.8% mark in 2016.

Couple that with the groundball rate and Hard%, both of which limit his BABIP potential, and we’re looking at another .260ish type season.  For a player who doesn’t offer much power potential, especially playing half his games in Petco Park, does this type of groundball rate support a sudden return to a 20+ HR campaign:

  • 2016 – 58.9%
  • 2017 – 55.6%
  • 2018 – 60.4%

No speed…  Limited power…  Little average upside…  It all comes together for the following uninspiring projection:

2019 Projection
.263 (158-600), 19 HR, 85 RBI, 85 R, 6 SB, .308 BABIP, .330 OBP, .422 SLG

What about Hosmer makes you want to buy in, outside of the name itself?  It’s not like the Padres are going to be an offensive juggernaut and there are questions up and down Hosmer’s line.  Maybe if we could bank on a strong average…  Maybe if there was a lot of power…  It’s just not there, though, and it is hard to expect some sudden development.  He is what he is, and that’s not a player you want to be targeting.

Sources – Fangraphs, Brooks Baseball

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Make sure to check out all of our 2019 projections:

Player
Date Posted
Dylan Bundy10/22/18
Foltynewicz, Mike10/09/18
Gibson, Kyle10/29/18
Hoskins, Rhys10/16/18
Hosmer, Eric11/05/18
Wheeler, Zack10/02/18

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