Becoming A Superstar Is As Much About Perception As Performance
Unless a player emulates Mike Trout and puts up four MVP-worthy seasons in his first four years in the league, he’s unlikely to be perceived as a superstar unless he does something memorable.
That’s why Eric Hosmer has a chance to break the “No Superstar” narrative. At age 26, he’s got all the superstar bling. He’s a 6’4″ alpha male. He’s got the baseball pedigree as the third overall pick of the 2008 draft. He’s got the “superstar” worthy girlfriend in Kacie McDonnell. And most of all, Hosmer’s wild dash to home plate that tied Game 5 of the World Series is an iconic play that baseball fans will remember for years to come.
The one thing that Eric Hosmer lacks is dominant performance on the field. In his five seasons in major-league baseball, Hosmer has been more “good” than “great”. His career .280/.336/.427 slash line with 77 home runs give him a solid OPS+ of 108 (8% better than a league average hitter). Hosmer’s big claim to baseball excellence is his three consecutive Gold Gloves, and finishing third in the Rookie-Of-The-Year voting in 2011.
The problem is, Hosmer has not really pushed his ceiling much beyond the promise he showed his rookie season. His .293/.334/.465 slash line with 19 home runs and 78 RBI’s looks much like his 2015 All-Star campaign where he hit .297/.363/.459 with 18 home runs and 93 RBI’s as the team’s no. 3 hitter.
As a first baseman, excellent defense and an above-average stick doesn’t cut it. Hosmer needs to mash before fans across the country recognize him as one of the top talents in the game.
We usually expect a player needs multiple dominant seasons before he can win such recognition. However, Eric Hosmer’s strong peripheral credentials will most likely earn him superstar recognition if he slams at least 27 or so home runs in 2016 with an OPS+ around 140.
Analysts will then proclaim that Hosmer has realized the “light-tower power” potential that scouts saw in him as a prospect. Fans will jump to the conclusion that he’s established a new level with one big season due to his pedigree, and his success on the big stage.
Next: Post-Season Heroics Are A Habit For Hosmer