Padres’ beleaguered Eric Hosmer denying naysayers with blazing hot start

San Diego Padres first baseman Eric Hosmer (30) - Mandatory Credit: Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports
San Diego Padres first baseman Eric Hosmer (30) - Mandatory Credit: Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports /

Two weeks ago, the San Diego Padres couldn’t give Eric Hosmer away. Now, after seven games into the 2022 campaign, the first baseman is on fire offensively.

At the end of March and early April, the Padres desperately tried to shed Hosmer and his remaining four years and $60 million salary commitment. Several sources such as Dennis Lin, Ken Rosenthal, and Joel Sherman, aggregated by MLB Trade Rumors, reported the Padres were trying to work out something with the Mets that included Hosmer.

Alas, no deal could be worked out with New York, and the Padres were stuck with Hosmer to begin the season. Maybe that wasn’t such a bad thing for the Padres or Hosmer.

Eric Hosmer is on FIRE to start the season for the Padres

Hosmer is one of the hottest players in the majors over the first week of play. He leads all players with 12 hits, five doubles, and a batting average of .462. His OPS is a staggering 1.154.

He’s struggled for much of his career against lefties, accumulating a slash of .252/.298/.367/.665. In nine plate appearances this season, he is hitting a lofty .500 with an OPS of 1.181 against southpaws.

How long this current hot streak will last is anyone’s guess, but his astronomical Batting Average on Ball in Play of .571 will inevitably regress. Right now, after 28 plate appearances, Hosmer has hit a line drive 47.6% of the time and has zero (yes – none, nada) flyballs. Those numbers will also regress because to go this long without a flyball is nuts.

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Of course, the season is only a week old, and the sample sizes are incredibly tiny. He isn’t going to hitt .462 for very long. Still, he HAS had some success in the past that gives the Padres hope. He’s batted .287 or better five times in his career. He’s hit 25 home runs a couple of times. He’s pounded out 31 or more doubles five times.

There is still a chance for Hosmer to be a productive, valuable member of this team. In fact, if Hosmer could settle back into similar numbers he enjoyed during his best years with the Royals, he could still be worth keeping, especially once 2022 is over, and he is only making $13 million a year over the last three years of his contract.

The worst-case scenario of a productive Hosmer is maybe he recovers some trade value if the Padres should fall off the pace in a very competitive NL West. However, the best-case scenario is that if he’s having a good year, chances are the Padres will stay in the postseason race. If the Padres can make the playoffs, Hosmer’s experience will become even more valuable as he knows what it takes to make a deep postseason run.

Hosmer’s power has never fully developed into what some may have thought it would. Still, suppose he can turn into a hard-hitting line-drive hitter who maintains a high average. In that case, he will have value, either as an everyday, dependable bat or as a tradable commodity. He was neither two weeks ago, but it is a new season, and we’ll see what happens.

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