The Padres made a surprising move by signing first baseman Eric Hosmer. How does this affect his and his new teammates’ fantasy value in 2018?
The San Diego Padres made a few moves already this offseason, adding Freddy Galvis and bringing back Chase Headley. But none will be as big as the one they made Saturday night. The team agreed to a deal with veteran first baseman Eric Hosmer. What is his, and his teammates’, fantasy value in 2018?
The Padres were one of the few teams that didn’t need a first baseman. They could have gotten by with the services of Wil Myers. But, when there’s a guy like Hosmer available this late into the offseason, why not, right?
This move likely moves Myers to right field, Manuel Margot in center and Jose Pirela in left while Hunter Renfroe gets sent down to Triple-A. I would have kept Renfroe in the majors and sent Pirela down but that’s why I don’t run a baseball team. However, Pirela did hit .288 with 10 home runs in 312 at-bats.
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The Padres will now have a dangerous middle of the order featuring Myers, Hosmer and Headley. In an ever-competitive National League West, the Padres are making a case for themselves to not finish last. While they won’t compete for a playoff spot, they can easily play spoiler to a contending team.
Hosmer is coming off a career year in some cases. He played in all 162 games with the Royals. He finished with 25 home runs, 94 RBIs, 98 runs and a career-high .312 batting average. I don’t fault him for the decline in runs and RBIs because that relies on a supporting cast to get on base and drive him home.
One negative about the move is that Petco Park and AT&T Park ranked 29th and 30th in home runs last season. Then again, Kauffman Stadium wasn’t that far behind at No. 27. The installation of the humidor will hurt all batters. He will have Coors Field to visit though, so that’s a plus.
Hosmer is an extreme ground ball hitter, career 53.4 percent ground ball rate. It reached 58.9 percent in 2016 and 55.6 percent last season. His flyball rate dropped two percent between the two seasons. Hosmer has also been inconsistent throughout his career, going back and forth between a .290 and .270 average every other season.
Hosmer will still rank in my top-10 first baseman. As long as he can hit around .290 with 25 home runs, he’ll be a starting first baseman in most mixed leagues. You do have to watch for a potential decline in home runs with three of the five parks being pitcher friendly.