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Saturday, February 13, 2016

2016 FANTASY BASEBALL PLAYER ANALYZER: ERIC HOSMER 1B KANSAS CITY ROYALS

Sometime when it comes to certain pitchers or hitters, a certain label just stick which as often happens, undermines that individual when it comes to evaluating his overall potential impact in fantasy baseball.  One such player who falls under this scenario is Kansas City Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer who comes off a very good 2015 campaign but who also continues to be downgraded in the fantasy baseball community for a number of reasons.  For our latest Player Analyzer, let's dig in a bit deeper on Hosmer and find out what the story is here. 

While it seems like Hosmer has been around forever, he enters the 2016 fantasy baseball season at the still quite young age of 26.  With 27 being the age where a hitter's prime usually begins, Hosmer actually still has a season of upside possibly left to his name.  However for this feature, we will grade Hosmer on his current level of production and that looked like the following in 2015:

.297
18 HR
93 RBI
98 R
7 SB

Looking at the numbers above, one has to be impressed with the five category production from Hosmer.  The counting stats in runs and RBI both went over the 90 mark which is rare regardless of the position and Hosmer also started showing off the much-hyped pure hitting ability many talked about after he was drafted in the first round (third overall) in the 2008 draft as he batted over .290 for the third time in five seasons.  Also Hosmer has a bit of speed as he swiped 7 bases last season and three times he has gone for double-digits there.  So why does Hosmer still have a legion of critics?  One only has to look at his very ugly 2012 and 2014 seasons as the main reason for this.  Amid sky-high expectations for both campaigns, Hosmer fell flat on his face by batting just .232 and .270 respectively those years, while also only 14 and 9 home runs.  As a result, Hosmer went for a very cheap rate in 2015 drafts as many moved away from him for good after those two major letdowns.  However a few things need to be discussed here in fairness to Hosmer as well as what his real abilities are as he gets set to enter into his sixth season. 

The first issue with Hosmer is the fact he debuted at a ridiculously young age of 22 and thus not surprisingly went through some pronounced growing pains.  However those who play fantasy baseball are all in the "what have you done for me lately" mode and thus overlook this crucial issue.  Now that Hosmer is five years into his career, he is a much more stable hitter in terms of his numbers and thus for 2016, can be trusted like never before.  In addition to his age, Hosmer has also been hammered for his lack of breakthrough in the home run department.  His career-high in five seasons in terms of home runs is a modest 19 which he actually hit as a rookie in 2011 which got the hype machine going.  However Hosmer's profile really didn't suggest him being a major home run hitter as he all too often hit the ball on the ground which he continues to do.  Thus expecting 25-plus home runs was foolish in hindsight and that goes for 2016 as well.  Yes Hosmer has started putting more baseballs into the air which is the direction you want to see him going but anything more than 20 this season would be a bonus.  However when you combine 15-20 home runs with 90-plus runs and RBI with a good batting average, Hosmer makes the grade as a solid fantasy baseball first baseman and a tremendous UTIL/CI option.  The home runs coming in under 20 ideally make Hosmer more of the latter since you want at least 25 bombs from your starting first baseman to keep up with everyone else in your league but again the total package of the guy is still very decent. 

When you project Hosmer for 2016, again go with 90-plus runs and RBI due to a his high OBP (.363) and patience (9.1 walk rate).  Also Hosmer seems set now as a perennial .300 hitter due to his very good 16.2 K rate and again high walk number.  Throw in 15-20 home runs and a handful of steals and Hosmer has developed into a very good fantasy baseball option no matter where you place him this season on your squad. 

2016 PROJECTION:  .308 19 HR 95 RBI 98 R 8 SB 

 

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