For a primer on the 20-80 scouting scale, check out Kevin Goldstein’s article at Baseball Prospectus. When listening to scouts, baseball front office personnel, writers, or random baseball guys, the 20-80 scouting scale eventually comes up. It’s always a good idea to have knowledge of how players are performing according to this scale so that baseball conversations have a common reference point.
Here are Eric Hosmer’s tool grades:
Hosmer hit .302 in 2013. He has a below average K-rate, chase rate and miss percentage. He puts more balls in play than the average hitter and again drives the ball with authority after his disastrous 2012 season. He started turning on fastballs and has consistently made pitchers pay when they challenge him. In 2013, he hit .356 on fastballs with a .617 SLG.
His primary strength is that he doesn’t have many weaknesses. While not great at any one thing, he’s not bad at anything either. He had a solid line drive rate of 23%. His bat covers the plate well and he’s learned to lay off low breaking pitches. He took left-handed pitchers to task for the first time in his career in 2013, which eliminated a previously hefty split. If he continues down this develop on this line, he will be a scary hitter.
From all accounts, Hosmer still has massive power in batting practice and it shows up every once in a while in games. Eleven of his seventeen home runs were 420 feet or farther, including this 455 foot blast. Everything about Hosmer screams 25-30 home run power, but he hasn’t put it all together yet.
His .148 isolated power may fool some into believing he doesn’t have strong raw power. He does…it’s just not full-throttle yet.
Hos won a Gold Glove which shows how highly managers think of his athletic prowess. He makes some difficult plays look even harder than they are by loosely flinging his glove toward high-hopping grounders and line drives. He has range. However, he lacks the grace that would make his job a whole lot easier.
He scooped more short hop throws out of the dirt than anyone in the American League except Chris Davis (who also had 52 scoops). The main difference between the two players is that Davis had J.J. Hardy‘s excellent accuracy on the opposite side of the diamond and Hosmer had Escobar, who has the strongest and least accurate throwing arm among all AL shortstops. Hosmer should have made even more scoops.
Hosmer had a 95 mph fastball in high school. In one of the few games he played in right field at the major league level, Hos fired a rocket to home plate for an assist. His extremely strong arm and quick response time has contributed to his league-leading 122 assists. No other AL first baseman reached 100.
Hosmer shows good speed for a first baseman. Widely regarded as an all-around athlete, his average speed and heads up baserunning have gotten him 38 steals in 48 attempts.
Overall, Hosmer will probably be an All-Star in the near future. His violent, powerful swing will let him keep a consistently high average and the natural maturation of his power will also increase it. Even if his defense doesn’t improve to match his reputation as a defensive phenom, he’s still an impressive all-around package.