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Sunday, February 18, 2018

2018 FANTASY BASEBALL PLAYER ANALYZER: ERIC HOSMER 1B SAN DIEGO PADRES

He just had to pick the Padres didn't he?  As a longtime fan of Eric Hosmer and someone who has made more than a few excuses for the guy in the past through some disappointing campaigns, to say I was annoyed that he signed on with the Padres late Saturday night is a big understatement.  Of course, I can't blame Hosmer for passing up $144 million he got from San Diego but from a fantasy baseball perspective, this is not an ideal landing spot obviously.  By now we all know that Petco Park is as big an offensive drain as you can when it comes to offense/runs and Hosmer's 2018 fantasy baseball value takes a hit due to the landing spot alone.  This is especially true for a guy like Hosmer who has been killing worms for years as one of the more pronounced ground-ball hitters in the game and he could have used any advantage a new home ballpark could have given him leaving Kansas City which is no picnic for hitters either.  Be that as it may, this is what we have to deal with so let's dig back in here by revisiting Hosmer's 2018 numbers:

.318
25 HR
94 RBI
98 R
6 SB

As a former third overall pick in the 2008 draft, Hosmer always had had the pedigree and so his numbers above look pretty darn good on paper.  On paper is the key word here though as Hosmer remained an extreme ground-ball guy last season with a very high 55.6 of his balls sailing through the grass and just 22.0 becoming flies.  That is a horrific ratio for sure but Hosmer still made it work enough to smack 25 homers for the second year in a row.  What needs to be said though is that it took over 650 at-bats each season for Hosmer to get there so his home run rate is actually pretty bad and when you consider how the long ball went crazy all across baseball last season, 25 is not looking as impressive as it once did. 

Making matters worse for Hosmer, there is the fact that his .318 average from last season looks fluky as well.  Hosmer's .351 BABIP a year ago was incredibly lucky and one of the highest marks in baseball.  Keep in mind that previous to last season, Hosmer only hit over .300 once in his previous six MLB campaigns and so we need to job back his expected batting average for 2018 to the .300 range.  Yes, .300 is still an impressive place to be but you certainly can't pay for .318.  Finally, while Hosmer was a double-digit stolen base guy as recently as 2013, he has just 11 total the last two years and at the age of 28, already seems like he is finished running.

When you put it all together, Eric Hosmer looks like a top ten fantasy baseball first baseman once again for 2018 but you need to strongly resist the urge to pay for his 2017 numbers.  Hosmer simply hits too many balls on the ground to be anything more than a 25 home run guy AT BEST and his new home ballpark will cause the average to dip as well.  This guy could go down as one of the more overrated bats in spring drafts. 

2018 PROJECTION:  .303 23 HR 95 RBI 93 R 5 SB  

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