We look at why Eric Hosmer could be the key to the success of the San Diego Padres in 2020 if he is utilized correctly as a platoon player.
In his first two seasons in San Diego he’s posted negative WAR numbers hitting .259/.316 with a .728 OPS and 305 strikeouts in 1,232 at-bats.
Hosmer has never had great measurables defensively according to FanGraphs, so that hurts his WAR totals tremendously.
His -0.6 UZR in 2019 was actually much better than the -2.6 he posted in his first year with the Padres.
But even his offensive ratings have been terrible the past two years.
He really peaked at the right time posting a 4 WAR season in 2017 before becoming a free agent, and the Padres took the bait.
Hosmer had two other seasons of being a 3 WAR player before that, but in his other four seasons with the Royals he was never more than a 1 WAR player and had a combined WAR of -0.2 in those other four seasons.
When Hosmer has been good he’s been really good, but those seasons are few and far between.
He’s been so bad in his first two years with the Padres that there haven been thoughts of platooning him with Wil Myers.
That would be quite an expensive first base platoon.
The 30-year-old first baseman has fared much better against righties in his career hitting .291 against them compared to .251 against lefties.
In 2018 he hit .295 against righties and .179 against lefties, while in 2019 he hit .276 against righties and .231 against lefties.
Those are pretty obvious and drastic splits. It’s pretty apparent that Hosmer has no business hitting against lefties anymore.
Luckily most of the starting pitchers in Major League Baseball are right-handed, but that’s still a lot of money to pay for a guy who can only hit against right-handed pitchers.
But something has to change in order for the Padres to get their money’s worth. And if that means Hosmer only starts 130 games in 2020 so that he doesn’t start against lefties, then so be it.
If he only starts against righties and finishes the year hitting .275/.330 with 20 home runs and 80 RBI in 500 at-bats is that not good production?
And by doing so you get a better hitting option in the lineup on days when they face a lefty, giving you better offensive production.
I know it’s a hard pill to swallow and realize you have a guy making $21 million a year that is nothing more than a platoon player, but at some point you have to do what’s best for the team.
And Hosmer hitting against left-handed pitching has proven not to be good for the team.