Rumors circulated the last few weeks that the San Diego Padres were going to offer Eric Hosmer a big contract. It came to fruition with Hosmer agreeing to an eight-year, $144 million contract.
The initial reaction is to downgrade Hosmer moving to Petco Park, but that’s not the case. Petco is tougher to hit home runs for left-handed hitters, but it’s not a drastic downgrade overall.
Petco Park ranked 29th for runs scored last season, according to ESPN Ballpark Factors. Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City was 22nd. For home runs, Kauffman Stadium was 27th and San Diego 29th.
Hosmer is coming off one of his better seasons with the Royals and their offense wasn’t good last season. He batted .318 with 98 runs, 25 home runs, 94 RBIs, six stolen bases and an .882 OPS. Hosmer is a career .284 hitter and the .318 last season was a career high that was boosted slightly by a .351 BABIP, above his career average of .316.
While Hosmer put up solid stats across the board, he had his worst hard-hit rate since 2011 with a 29.5 percent mark, a drop of 4.9 percent from 2016. Hosmer hits a lot of ground balls, so expecting an uptick in home runs is unrealistic.
Hosmer had a career ground ball rate of 53.6 percent. He was at 55.6 percent last season and had a fly ball rate of 22.2 percent, yet tied a career high with 25 home runs. He had a 22.5 percent HR/FB rate and was at 21.4 percent the year before.
The positive things Hosmer has going for him are durability, which allows him to get good counting stats and a high floor for average, a category that can go undervalued.
In five of the last six seasons, Hosmer has played at least 150 games and in four of the last five seasons, he has batted at least .270, including three of at least .297.
Hosmer isn’t someone I target, but he’s not someone I ignore. First base isn’t as deep as many think, but he hasn’t landed on any of my teams yet. I have him ranked No. 10 at first base and that means I usually don’t get him.
The addition of Hosmer moves Wil Myers to the outfield. He has first base eligibility now and will add outfield early in the season, depending on your league rules of how many games you need at a position for this year. Manuel Margot is locked into center field and that leaves one spot for Hunter Renfroe, Jose Pirela, Alex Dickerson and Franchy Cordero. The Padres could trade one of them.