Why Eric Hosmer Really Isn’t That Bad

Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Now comes the tricky part, which is evaluating Hosmer’s defensive work. Full disclosure, it is extremely difficult to determine a first baseman’s defensive value.

Statistics like Zone Rating and Defensive Runs Saved are awesome stats that give a general idea of what a defender brings to the table, but first basemen are the exception. For example, Hosmer’s -21 DRS is absolutely horrendous. That amounts to a little bit more than three runs that Hosmer costs his team per year. This is where it gets a little sticky because fielding metrics have yet to come up with a reliable stat that specializes in quantifying how well a first baseman can pick a ball at first.

Hosmer has won four MLB Gold Gloves and one has to think that those awards very well could mean something since they’re voted on by Major League coaches. Just kidding – they actually mean nothing.

His former manager, Ned Yost, did call him a “wizard” (as documented in an article in 2016 trying to make sense of Hosmer’s defense) and as of that article’s completion he led all of baseball in scoops since 2014. The bottom line is Hosmer is one of the best at scooping balls at 1st, but has trouble getting to balls off of the bat (so say the metrics). How valuable each skill is has been a topic of debate, but it’s hard to argue that Hosmer saving errors and turning them into outs doesn’t indeed hold value.

Hosmer’s agent, Scott Boras, has been running around peddling off the very well thought out “Prestige Value”, otherwise known as PV. This is a “stat” brought about to rival WAR somehow. PV is supposed to tell an executive how much more valuable a player is based on his intangibles. It’s a blatant mockery of advanced statistics, but it also sheds some light on what Hosmer can do in the right situation. His leadership characteristics have been well documented, and for good reason.

He is bilingual, and that would be a big plus in a Padres locker room dominated by Latin talent. He has also played in and won some big games, so he could potentially be the guy the team turns to if they end up in a surprise playoff race come September. Intangibles are a great asset to have, and although leadership skills don’t always translate from clubhouse to clubhouse, the fact that Boras is really pushing this PV as a quantifiable stat (it isn’t) means that Hosmer feels like he is the missing piece to any team and is willing to step up and lead wherever he goes. With Wil Myers failing to take over the clubhouse these past couple of years, and with Yangervis Solarte gone to Toronto, there is a big hole in the clubhouse that needs to be filled as the team’s young talent continues to flood in.

Eric Hosmer is a solid fit for the Padres as he is a good player that can be had for a somewhat reasonable price. Signing him at $140 mil over seven-years isn’t all that bad because of Hosmer’s youth and above average offensive production. Add his great durability to the list and he is a conceivable fit on any team. The fact that the Padres are even in on him is a good sign for next offseason when players like Manny Machado, Dallas Keuchel, and more are available. Ownership is opening up the checkbooks and showing the fans that they will be pursuing good players as they become available, and that’s a great sign of things to come. With not much money on the books for the foreseeable future, gambling on Hosmer is a move that makes sense as he could be one of the first pieces San Diego brings in to solidify its core. If signing the 1st baseman is a sign of things to come, fans of the Padres are going to be in for a treat as the team nears contention.

Hosmer has his warts, but so does Wil Myers. Solarte had them too. My favorite player of all time, Chris Denorfia, also wasn’t the perfect baseball player. It’s time we Padres fans embrace a Hosmer signing and take it as a step in the right direction as opposed to a deviation from the rebuilding path. Let’s be happy ownership is willing to spend and make our beloved team better by acquiring an above average baseball player by whatever means necessary. Here’s to Hosmer and here’s to the Padres.

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Ryan Davis

Born and raised in Vista, Ryan has been a Padres fan since birth. Currently attending Palomar College, Ryan is trying his hand at expressing his passion for baseball through writing. There is no better life than the baseball life.


This article has 7 Comments

  1. Thanks for responding. I agree, and would love for them to pursue “high end talent.” That would be awesome. However, Hosmer is good, and not high end. I would also be greatly encouraged if the Padres pursued/obtained high end talent before next year, if the player was a pitcher, a SS, or even a an OF (which is a luxury, not a need), and was actually high end. Hosmer does not fit any of that. Galvis was an *illustration* of poor decision making, and a bad move, not comparing player-to-player. There was also the huge factor of getting just one year, a worthless year of non-competing, for something of value. Most teams would love to be on the opposite end of those kinds of trades.

    1. I think we can both agree that the Galvis trade was ill advised, but who knows. If they can somehow re-sign him (doubtful considering the 6.85 mil he’s getting this year) then the deal looks a little bit better. As far as Hosmer being considered a well above average player, well, I’m afraid that will be heavily debated so long as his WAR numbers continue to fluctuate. But I do believe he still has some potential and overlooked upside.

      1. Potential? Yes. Upside. Sure. It would be interesting to see how his supposed ground-ball-heavy swing would play at Petco, or even if that could be altered (as apparently others have) to be of a fly ball swing. By the way, I liked the stats you gave, and one of them was GDP, I would think a ground ball hitter would hit into more of those, do you know what the league average was, and how he compares? just a thought.

        1. Homer ended up T-11th in GDP in all of baseball. Interestingly enough, tied with Lorenzo Cain and grounded into 1 more DP than Jose Altuve. Guys who hit into more include Anthony Rizzo, Nolan Arenado, and DJ Lemahieu. He also hit the 3rd most GBs in all of baseball so I don’t think DPs are a huge factor, especially considering how many GBs he hits.

  2. Yes, Hosmer “really isn’t that bad.” But signing him would be bad. It would be very harmful, overall, due to his position (displacing their highest paid player, and putting him into the OF, which is concerning), the amount of money, the length of the contract, etc. First base is the easiest to fill (and the Padres have several good candidates after Meyers, if need be: Priela, etc), so why put over 200 million into that position, and maybe 40 mil for the rest of the team! Signing him at 7/140 would be like signing an above average second baseman at 7/100-120 mil. How does that help? It would not, and it just clog things up. Signing him makes even less sense than the trade for Galvis … which is like the Lakers trading a late first round/early second round pick for ONE year of a slightly above average rotation player.

    1. Thank you for the feedback, it’s much appreciated. Displacing the team’s highest paid player shouldn’t stop the team from pursuing high end talent though. I completely agree that 1st base is an easy position to fill because of the over saturated market, but the Padres wouldn’t be “filling a need” with a Hosmer signing as much as they would be adding high end talent before said high end talent becomes too expensive. The free agent class next year is monstrously good, so why not get ahead of the market and sign a great player now? The Galvis trade and signing Hosmer aren’t comparable transactions. Hosmer is far and away the better player and with him you’re sacrificing a non 1st round pick as opposed to a young boom or bust starter (De los Santos) that may very well see ML time this season. I do understand your concerns though.

      1. I agree with this article. The Padres need an influx of talent more than anything else. My question for those against signing Hosmer, who are you spending $140 mil? Which free agent is begging to play for a rebuilding team?
        Also, they signed Myers knowing they could move him.

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