Maybe you've forgotten due to his post-season heroics, but Eric Hosmer actually had a putrid 2014 season. He hit more home runs in a short three-game American League Division Series against the Angels (two) than he did over the first 61 games of the regular season. By the end of June, his OPS was .631, nearly 100 points lower than that of light-hitting shortstop Alcides Escobar, leading us to have a discussion about Eric Hosmer, before finally calling for a demotion.
That trip to Omaha never came, but Homer did snap out of his funk a bit in the second half. He went 4-4 on July 1, and from that point on, he hit .321/.379/.509, although he missed nearly all of August with a wrist injury. He still ended up posting the worst ISO of his career (tied with 2012) and his 6.8% home run-to-fly ball rate was the worst of his career, and the third worst in baseball among first basemen.
|Career per 162 games||.275||.328||.418||17||78||1.6|
The projection models all seem to like Hosmer to bounce back well, despite his troubling trendlines. Hosmer posted the second-worst walk rate of his career at 6.4%, while striking out 17% of the time, easily the worst of his career, typified by this at-bat against Mariners pitcher (and now teammate) Chris Young.
Hosmer's defense is still unloved by the metrics, although he did win his second Gold Glove for what that's worth. My theory is that he looks flashy with the glove, but still flubs far too many routine plays (and also the pool of good defensive first basemen in the league is rather shallow right now). Hosmer had his first negative baserunning runs season in 2014, his first with a single-digit stolen base total.
Hosmer, of course, snapped out of his funk in time for the post-season, where he hit .351/.439/.544 overall with two home runs, and perhaps more importantly, nine walks in 66 plate appearances (although with 16 strikeouts). There is hope that perhaps that performance can re-ignite his stalling career, but its hard to take too much stock into that small of a sample.
Still, it would be nice.
Eric Hosmer is still just 25 years old, but he is now entering his fifth Major League season with 2,388 plate appearances under his belt. Since 2011, among first baseman with at least 1,500 plate appearances over that time, Hosmer ranks just 18th in on-base percentage (.328), 21st in slugging percentage (.418), 25th in ISO (.143) and 15th in rWAR (5.5). He has alternated two pretty good seasons at the plate (EDIT: D'oh, wrong years) (2011, 2013) with two pretty awful seasons (2012, 2014), but even his best seasons have been far short of an All-Star level. Perhaps there is still time for Hosmer to adjust and become an All-Star caliber player, but with every passing season it looks like he might simply but what he is, a slightly below-average first baseman - certainly not a terrible one - but probably one that is a long way from the lofty projections we had on him as a prospect.
What do you expect out of Eric Hosmer in 2015?