What's eating Eric this early in the season? - Image Credit: Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

In this episode of Sunny or Scrambled we’ll take a look at the early returns on Eric Hosmer.

One of the most divisive topics making the rounds on Padres Twitter and other channels is the offensive performance so far from Eric Hosmer, he of the former richest Padres contract. The former Royal and World Series champ has not lived up to the lofty expectations of his contract so far, to say the absolute least. With the Padres’ offensive foibles rearing their heads in the last series against Colorado, many are beginning to question the abilities of Mr. Prestige Value®.

Sunny or scrambled?

A dive into the numbers shows gives us some reasons to worry and some signs of hope. First and foremost are the bare basics of the slash line: .194/.270/.284, good for a wRC+ of…47. Dismal. His current OPS+ of .554 would be a career low since his time in A ball if it holds (it won’t). Hosmer’s current BABIP of .240 is lower than last year and even prior years, odd/even year wackiness included. There’s some bad luck involved unless you remember that Eric is a severe ground ball hitter. That hasn’t changed at all this season (49% GB rate).

Speaking of odd/even year Hosmer, this is an odd year so he’s expected to play up to All Star caliber…and hasn’t. Don’t know what I mean? Take a quick dig into his Fangraphs and see how his stats yo-yo.

There are some promising stats to look at underneath it all. The boys from the 5.5 Podcast were quick to point out that Hos is hitting the ball harder than he normally does. This is true: the first baseman is making hard and medium contact both at about a 45% clip. Hos’ hard contact is almost 10% higher than his career norm. Among the calls for Hos to modify his swing path is a rise in fly ball percentage at 25.5%. Line drives are weighing in the same at 25.5%, so that’s gotta be something, right? So far, not really.

So, is Hosmer’s outlook sunny or scrambled so far?

Scrambled.

Odd-year Hosmer has not been activated yet and it’s hard to see if that odd-year magic (which I think is the polar opposite of the Giants’ former even-year thing) still exists. What the Padres have is a 1B who hits for ground ball power and not much else. You could mark the fall-off due to age but Hos simply isn’t that old yet at 29.

Mutterings of benching and possible platooning have already made the rounds on Padres Twitter. The bat and potential of one Josh Naylor blocked in the minors has also bolstered calls to ride the pine. Regardless, it’ll be a really hard call to ask a clubhouse leader (I think?) and $20 million dollar man to take a seat…according to some.

Or just go with Mensie here. That’s baseball, right?

(sorry)

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Jay Stokes
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Jay Stokes

Looks mostly scrambled. This data gets to actually how hard he is hitting the ball and how often he “squares up”.
https://baseballsavant.mlb.com/statcast_leaderboard

By barrels, he is 205th (of 309 listed; 10 batted ball events minimum) at 4.1% of his PA’s.
He is 114/309 in average exit velocity and 164/309 in maximum exit velocity.

Last year, a yucky year, he was 246/669 in barrels, 202/669 in exit velocity (though lower than 2019).

On the “good” side, his GB% is down under 50%, which is kind of rare for him and his LD% is up. But his BABIP and ISO are way down. Maybe the BABIP is bad luck and balls start dropping more, but would be nice to see some power come back.

Still baffled by this signing. Things would be so much easier with Myers there or Franmil or virtually any in house option or low cost FA type.