San Diego Padres first baseman Eric Hosmer hasn’t been better, he’s just been different.
On Sunday afternoon in Cincinnati, San Diego Padres first baseman Eric Hosmer completed something he had never done in his eight-year career, hitting a home run in three straight games. Personally, I haven’t written about Eric Hosmer much this season, maybe twice. How many different ways can you talk about his extreme amount of groundballs? However, this little surge in production led to me to look into Hosmer’s numbers for the first time this year.
Hosmer has been fairly solid over the past week, hitting .261 with an impressive .393 on-base percentage. Three of his six hits have been home runs, to go along with his five walks and just two strikeouts. With the direction this offense has taken this season, seeing numbers like this (albeit a small sample) provide a little hope that things can get better.
Let’s look at a few different numbers to compare Eric Hosmer’s first half of the season to his second half of the season.
On the surface, it looks like Hosmer has been playing a little better since the All-Star break, as evidenced by his 15 point jump in batting average, right? There’s also a 3% drop in his strikeout rate, another good sign. Unfortunately, everything else is virtually the same, while continuing to post a wRC+ under 100 (league average).
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Even the small improvements he has made aren’t very meaningful. Before the All-Star break, 37% of Hosmer’s hits went for extra bases (10 home runs, 23 doubles, and one triple). Since the break, that number has dropped to 29% (six home runs, seven doubles, one triple). In less than half of the plate appearances, Hosmer has nearly 60% of the number of singles he hit in the first half of the season.
That’s all well and good if you’re a 7/8 hitter who is trying to break out of a slump, but not if you are the new face of the franchise and highest paid player in team history. Just one last thing before this turns into a dump on Eric Hosmer post, which I don’t want it to be. I like watching Hosmer play when he’s on. He is solid at hitting against the shift and can be a 3-4 WAR player for the Padres.
However, the one last thing I want to point out is Hosmer’s performance against the breaking pitch. He’s never been known as a guy who’s very successful at hitting breaking pitches, posting an average of .197 in 2015 and .183 in 2016. The production skyrocketed last season, hitting .258. This season has been the worst of them all, recording a .144 average against breaking pitches.
That’s good for 44th among MLB first baseman with at least 25 breaking pitches put in play (per Baseball Savant). Brutal.
On the bright side, he can never get as bad as Chris Davis and his $161 million contract, can he?