That’s two good years and one bad year for Eric Hosmer. The one bad year, which was really his first full season in the majors, still wasn’t too bad from a fantasy standpoint as he still managed to hit 14 home runs and steal 16 bases. Hosmer is essentially a Paul Goldschmidt-lite, due to his ability to contribute in the steals category while many of his counterpoints give nothing in that department.
Even so, I still don’t think I’m going after Hosmer as my primary first base option this season. I had a few shares of him last year as I felt he was undervalued entering the draft, but going right after Freddie Freeman and Buster Posey seems like a significant drop off to me even if we expect him to sustain his rate stats and improve a bit in the power department.
I spoke a few weeks ago about how I would rather avoid the risk of Anthony Rizzo despite the talent, but if I had to choose between the two at their respective draft spots I would much rather take Rizzo. Hosmer is a guy that you can’t even expect to hit 20 home runs. You can certainly hope he will, but to have an expectation that he will hit 20 or more is leaning a bit too hard on one side of the bell curve in my opinion.
ZiPS and Steamer both have pretty solid expectations for Hosmer, with him hitting the 20 home run mark and reaching double digit steals. Along with that comes a decent .285 average from Steamer and .296 average from ZiPS. There’s no doubt, he has value. But at the position we are expecting the most offensive production, drafting Hosmer as a top-8 first baseman seems a bit aggressive.
To counter, Brandon Belt is going in ESPN leagues as the 18th first baseman, between Brandon Moss and Jose Abreu (another guy I love that late). 90 picks later you can get .265-.270 with 15-16 home runs and 7-9 steals. That is obviously less impressive than Hosmer’s numbers, but the value in what can be had in between drafting Hosmer and drafting Belt is significant. Add on that if you are playing in on base percentage leagues, which is more and more frequent year after year, and Belt becomes even more attractive due to an improved average.
I am not even really arguing that I like drafting Belt a ton, because I want my first basemen to be hitting home runs. Even a Mark Trumbo who does not do much else than hit home runs, is a guy I would rather target as he moves into a pitcher friendly park. He won’t steal double digits, but a handful of bags helps mitigate the speed advantage Hosmer has over most first basemen.
In the end, it’s difficult to bag on Hosmer. He contributes across the board, and having guys like that certainly helps. The problem is, I’m not sure it helps as much as we have to pay for it. Drafting a guy like Belt and hoping for a bit of luck in the speed and average department at a much lower cost seems like a less risky option than drafting Hosmer. He’s a good player who can still get better, but I’m not willing to bet on that happening at his price this season.
Print This Post