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Tuesday, January 9, 2018

2018 FANTASY BASEBALL PLAYER ANALYZER: ERIC HOSMER 1B FREE AGENT

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Is any big name MLB free agent going to sign a deal this winter?  We are already well past the point where the winter market should have already seen the top pitchers and hitters secure new deals but this is a seemingly new age now in baseball where most teams are playing the waiting game in order to try and get a better deal on their end.  One such player caught up in this game of "who will blink first" is free agent first baseman Eric Hosmer.  While it has been widely reported that Hosmer has a standing seven-year offer on the table from the rebuilding San Diego Padres, the fact he has not inked the pact tells you that there is not a strong desire on his part to go there and spacious Petco Park.  Hosmer apparently is waiting on what the Royals will do as that is his preferred destination but anyone possibly interested in owning him for 2018 fantasy baseball would love nothing else but to see the Boston Red Sox get involved given the offensive leanings of Fenway Park.  Until we get clarity there, it is best to judge Hosmer on his current level of production and on that front, he timed free agency perfectly as he comes off a 2017 campaign that saw some career-highs:

.318
25 HR
94 RBI
98 R
5 SB

Looking at those numbers, the power and average quickly jump out.  The power is particularly interesting given the fact that Hosmer's ground-ball heavy tendencies since becoming a Royal back in 2011 perhaps indicated he would not be a big weapon in that department in his career.  While Hosmer still hits a bunch of balls on the ground, he has now hit 25 homers each of the last two seasons and so that needs to be his baseline going forward.  Of course it is likely foolish to expect much more power given Hosmer's current spray chart in terms of fly balls/ground balls and 30 long balls usually is a benchmark to a higher tier in the fantasy baseball first baseman rankings.

As far as the average is concerned, Hosmer set a career-high with his .318 mark last season but this needs to be taken with a bit of a grain of salt given his VERY lucky .351 BABIP.  There is little chance of Hosmer having such a lucky BABIP two years running and so a job back to .300 is more likely for 2018.  That is still a very good number though and paired with the 25 homers and 90-plus runs and RBI, Hosmer absolutely makes the grade as a top 8 fantasy baseball first baseman this season.  Finally, it is time to forget about the steals here as Hosmer has swiped just 22 total bases in the last four years combined and so his earlier days of teenage numbers there are looking like history.

When you break it all down, we are looking at a very good offensive player in Hosmer but one who is a tear below Paul Goldschmidt, Anthony Rizzo, Freddie Freeman, Joey Votto, and Jose Abreu.  Once those sluggers are drafted, Hosmer is right there as the next option worth of hearing his name called.  Again we are talking about a four-category asset who is just a bit lighter in the power department than those mentioned prior.

2018 PROJECTION:  .305 24 HR 95 RBI 97 R 6 SB  


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