Sunday, February 23, 2014

Fantasy Focus: Eric Hosmer vs Brandon Belt Smackdown

Eric Hosmer and Brandon Belt are very similar players who play the same position, first base, and are both entering their 4'th MLB seasons, but are being treated vastly different in fantasy drafts.  First the basic profiles:

Eric Hosmer, KC Royals.  B-L, T-L.  6'4", 220 lbs.  DOB:  10/24/1989.  Drafted First Round, 3'rd overall in the 2008 draft(the Posey draft).

2013:  86 R, 17 HR, 79 RBI, 11 SB, .302 BA, 623 PA.  7.5% BB, 14.7% K, BABIP .335.

Brandon Belt, SF Giants.  B-L, T-L. 6'5", 220 lbs.  DOB:  4/20/1988.  Drafted in 5'th round, 2009.

2013:  76 R, 17 HR, 67 RBI, 5 SB, .289 BA, 509 PA.  9.1% BB, 21.9% K, BABIP .351.

Hosmer strikes out significantly less, but also walks significantly less.  They both had high BABIPs with Belt's being a little higher.  If you normalize Belt's PA's to 620 to equal Hosmer's, his counting stats go up to 95 R, 21 HR, 87 RBI.  As you can see, a lot of Belt's projected value depends on how much more PT you think he's going to get.

Let's take a look at their 2014 ZIPS projections:

Eric Hosmer:  81 R, 19 HR, 73 RBI, 11 SB, .296 BA, 657 PA.

Brandon Belt:  73 R, 16 HR, 70 RBI, 9 SB, .264 BA, 562 PA.

Hosmer's numbers have remained remarkably stable over his first 3 seasons, so his projection is not surprising.  ZIPS appears to not take into account that Belt's numbers,including PA's, have improved significantly each season up to this point.  While Mike Morse has taken ground balls at 1B already this spring and Buster Posey still may need to take a day or two there here and there, I would be surprised if Belt's PA's don't take another significant jump this year, especially if he breaks out offensively like his second half of last year suggests he might.

Another factor to consider is ground ball rates.  Although Hosmer gets more opportunities to build counting stats by keeping his walks and K's down, he also hits a ton of balls into the ground producing a whopping 2.11 GB/FB.  Each of those GB's reduce his HR opportunity by 1 PA.   Hosmer needed a 13% HR/FB to produce his 17 HR's last year.  On the other hand, Belt has no problem getting the ball in the air.  His GB/FB was a mere 0.83 while his HR/FB was a very sustainable 10.6.  Personally, if I'm going to bet on a guy taking his power numbers to the next level, I'll take the guy who can get the ball in the air.

Hosmer is currently being drafted at an ADP of 70 in Yahoo drafts putting him at the end of round 7 in traditional 10 team leagues and in round 6 in 12 team leagues.  In auctions he is costing an average of $17.7.  Belt is currently not being taken until the 150'th pick on average putting him at the end of round 15 in 10 team leagues and in the 12'th round in 12 team leagues.  His average cost in auctions is $5.9.  I drafted him for $2 in a recent mock auction draft.

If you are in the middle of a fantasy draft and get the feeling you need to jump on Eric Hosmer, consider that you cam get the same player several rounds later or will have the opportunity to bid on Belt at a greatly reduced rate later in your auction.


  1. Great real world throwdown also. Both Super Two's at the same time. Hosmer got the upperhand for more plate appearances, counting stats, and I suppose the Gold Glove didn't hurt his case.

    Hard to say who will be more valuable going forward, but the Giants sure got great value from that pick. Who would you rather have playing first and batting in the middle of the order?

    1. The GB tendency is going to be a millstone around Hosmer's neck as far as power projection. I like Belt's power upside a lot more, although his K rate and flyball tendency will likely limit his BA potential, but who cares if he has a good OBP and hits dingers? I guess I would bet on Belt going forward for upside. I think Hosmer is what he is unless he suddenly starts elevating the ball a lot better.