Lost in the recent losing streak, Eric Hosmer has been putting up career-bests in several categories for the Padres.
The expectations placed on Eric Hosmer after signing an eight-year, $144M contract during the 2017 offseason were enormous. The former Royals third overall pick was coming off a career year and accelerated the Padres rebuild by choosing to sign with San Diego.
But he posted back-to-back sub-80 wRC+ seasons while topping career-highs in strikeout percentages and groundball rates. Hosmer grounding out to second base became a drinking game of sorts the last two years, but he’s off to a tremendous start this season.
He’s been slowed by stomach issues, but he’s appeared to put those in the rear-view mirror. His swing looks more fluid, and he’s driving the ball in the air more often, as demonstrated by his 17.5-degree average launch angle. Previously, his best was 6.1 degrees in 2015 during the Royals’ championship run.
As such, his 54.3 percent flyball rate is easily the best of his career, which coincides with a career-low 31.4 percent groundball rate.
Hosmer is connecting with the barrel of the bat at a record-rate, 14.3 percent of the time, which is significantly above his career average of 6.8 percent. While his average exit velocity is down from a year ago, the 30-year-old has just an 11.4 percent soft-contact rate entering Monday’s game against the Rangers.
Along with Fernando Tatis Jr., Hosmer has been one of the few bright spots in a Padres lineup that has been fading lately. He has just a 9.5 percent strikeout rate, nearly half his career average. And what’s hilarious is that he should statistically be performing better than a .282/.333/.641 line with four home runs and 13 RBI because Hosmer’s .226 BABIP is an all-time low. But conversely, his .359 ISO is a career-high.
I said in summer camp that good things would happen if Hosmer continues to elevate the ball, and it appears that it is coming to fruition. It was vital for Hosmer to right the ship this season, especially being one of the veterans on the roster.
And for what it’s worth, Hosmer had a .275 average (.792 OPS) with five home runs and 16 RBI in 22 career games at the Rangers old ballpark. Let’s see how he fares in their new venue.