Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
It’s that type of slugging that reminds me of the other guy I mentioned above, Will Clark.
Clark had a more similar path to the majors…debuting at age 22. Like Grace, Will “The Thrill” also played college ball, but broke through with the Giants after only 71 minor league games. Still though…even with the college background, Clark and Hosmer have a more comparable career path by age. Again, let’s look at their first four years in the majors:
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Not a fair comparison, right? Clark came out of the gates an MVP candidate with a 155 OPS+ in his first four seasons. After managing just 11 home runs in year one (in which he played 111 games), he then hit 35, 29, and 23 homers over the next three years, respectively, for an average of 29 homers per year. Hosmer has shown nowhere near that power, yet, and he may not.
After 1991, though, Clark didn’t show that kind of power either. From 1992 through the end of his career in 2000, Clark hit 138 homers, which works out to 15 per year on average. His slugging dropped from .524 in his first four years to .483 in his final nine. Still no slouch though, Clark had a slash line of .305/.393/.483 for an .876 OPS. Hosmer would do well to have a run like that.
So…what about Hosmer? What do we make of him at this point? He’s had a couple of really good years (2011 and 2013), a bad year (2012) and an “okay” year in 2014. Hosmer, though, on the grand stage of the MLB postseason, gave the nation a taste of his potential. He became a local legend and made fans in other cities take notice. In his 15 postseason games, Hosmer had a slash of .351/.439/.544 in 66 plate appearances. Talk about small sample size.
However…something may have clicked in that run through the playoffs. Hosmer has picked up in 2015 where he left off versus the Giants, slashing .317/.395/.538, in what could shape up to be a very Clarkesque (I’m not sure anyone has ever used Clarkesque…trademarking it) season.
Next: Actually, now that we think of it....