Originally written on Baseball Professor  |  Last updated 2/26/13
Eric Hosmer for Andrew McCutchen was the core part of a preseason trade last offseason in our Baseball Professor league. McCutchen excelled and became a potential first-round selection. Hosmer fell to 296th overall in the rankings.While it’s tough to ignore the .232 average Hosmer put up last year, there are reasons to be hopeful he can turn things around this season. His 18.5% line drive rate last year was almost the same as in 2011 when he batted .293, and his 9.7% infield fly rate was actually lowers than 2011′s 11.3% mark. His walk rate improved from 6.0% to 9.4%, and his strikeout rate only went up a tick from 14.6% to 15.9%.Hosmer’s peripherals mostly improved. His overall stats plummeted. Was it just another example of the dreaded sophomore slump or should we legitimately be worried about Hosmer’s chances of establishing himself as a valuable starting first baseman in 2013. Truthfully, it’ll take us a few months into this season to know for sure, but I’m still a believer in the hype Hosmer garnered entering last season.At a GlanceStrengths: noneNeutral: R, HR, RBI, SB, BA, OBP, SLG, OPSWeaknesses: nonePlayer ComparisonsBest-case scenario: David Wright (NYM)Likely scenario: Ben Zobrist (TB), Shin-Soo Choo (CIN), Jason Kipnis (CLE)Worst-case scenario: David Murphy (TEX)Eric Hosmer 2013 Fantasy ProjectionThere’s nowhere that Hosmer really excels, statistically speaking. Our projected line, which still ranks 60th overall, fails to give him a single “wow” category. You can choose to look at that in one of two ways: Hosmer is incapable of taking that leap to the next level because his production is capped across the board or he’s a safe bet to at least give you something everywhere, making him an ideal player for H2H leagues.I tend to believe the latter is truer. The double-digit steals he’ll likely give you are nice category insurance and allow you to find power-only guys elsewhere, but most people will still prefer to get better home run and RBI production from their first baseman. I can’t necessarily blame you for that, but I will say that anyone who selects Hosmer at his current ADP (126.9) will likely get a nice value pick.
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