Does any team really want to give Eric Hosmer $100 million

Does any team really want to give Eric Hosmer $100 million

Postautor: lucky » 22 lis 2017, o 08:28

The $100 million question this offseason: Who is Eric Hosmer? Here are 14 things about the free agent to consider:
1. Hosmer is 28 years old. This is fact and not for dispute, although maybe somebody from the Flat Earth Society will disagree. He will play all of the 2018 regular season at 28 years old. This makes him young for a free agent, and a six-year contract would take him through his age-33 season, so a favorable aspect of signing Hosmer is you at least don't have to worry as much about paying for the decline phase of his career.
2. Hosmer won the Silver Slugger Award in 2017. Again, this is fact. You can argue whether he deserved the honor -- it could have just as easily gone to Jose Abreu or Justin Smoak or Logan Morrison -- but Hosmer won even though he didn't slug .500, and good luck finding another first baseman who won the Silver Slugger while slugging less than .500. Hosmer did have his best season at the plate, however, and that's a boost as he heads into free agency.
3. On the other hand, Hosmer has been wildly inconsistent in his career. Over the past five seasons, his OPS ranged from .801 to .716 to .822 to .761 to .882. His season WAR totals since 2013 are 3.5, 0.8, 3.6, 1.0 and 4.0. His value has ranged from barely above replacement level to above average. He hit nine home runs in 2014 but has hit 25 each of the past two seasons. He hit .318 in 2017 but just .266 in 2016.
His numbers suggest a player susceptible to the baseball. When offense cratered in 2014, Hosmer's power also cratered. As the ball became more juiced the past two seasons, Hosmer's home run rate increased. Are you buying a consistent 25-homer guy who can hit .300, like he did in 2017? Or are you potentially paying $100 million for a player who may never again match his 2017 output?
4. Hosmer hits a lot of balls on the ground. This is the big conundrum about Hosmer. Few players hit as many grounders as he does. Among regulars in 2017, only Dee Gordon, David Freese, Hunter Pence and DJ LeMahieu had a higher rate of balls on the ground than Hosmer's 55.9 Jordan Clarkson Womens Jersey percent. Joey Gallo, the most extreme fly ball hitter in 2017, had a fly ball rate of 48.6 percent; Hosmer was just 20 percent.
5. When he does hit the ball in the air, Hosmer has power. His home run rate on fly balls was 15.8 percent, 14th best among regulars, right below Cody Bellinger and a higher rate than some sluggers like Gary Sanchez, Nelson Cruz and Mike Trout. He just doesn't hit enough balls in the air.
6. He also doesn't pull the ball when he does hit it in the air. Here's his hit chart from 2017. Look at the fly ball outs to left field and left-center. The vast majority of his doubles are to the opposite field:
Maybe he'd benefit from leaving Kansas City. Kauffman Stadium did rate as the toughest home run park in the American League in 2017, with a park factor of 83, and it has a factor of 80 over the past three seasons, according to "The Bill James Handbook 2018." On the other hand, Hosmer hit 16 of his 25 home runs at home in 2017 and over his career has hit 60 at home, 67 on the road (with a nearly identical OPS). In general, hitters have a home-field advantage, so it's certainly possible that Hosmer would benefit from playing in a different park -- and there is a team looking for a first baseman that plays in a park that seems tailor-made for Hosmer's swing.
9. Hosmer is or isn't a good defensive first baseman. Maybe you like defensive metrics or maybe you don't, but the metrics almost always match the reputation of a player. Those with good defensive reputations usually rate well in the metrics. Hosmer is an outlier in this area. He won his fourth Gold Glove in 2017, his fourth in five seasons, so the obvious consensus is he's been the best defensive first baseman in the American League.
The metrics disagree with that assessment. He rated at minus-7 defensive runs saved in 2017 -- that's seven runs below average. He rated minus-6 in 2016 Womens Wei-Yin Chen Jersey and plus-1 in 2015. That's one system. UZR graded him at minus-0.3 runs in 2017, minus-8.4 in 2016 and plus-1.0 in 2015. His supporters point out that he has good hands and scoops everything in the dirt; well, all major league first basemen scoop pretty much everything in the dirt. The systems agree that Hosmer simply lacks the range of the better glove guys, and they've been consistent with this evaluation throughout his career.
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