SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

July 6, 2013

Fantasy Forecast: Hosmer finally showing signs of promise

Fantasy Forecast
Andy Silva

---- — Eric Hosmer was considered a breakout candidate prior to the 2012 season.

Hosmer — long considered a top prospect — raked in spring training, hitting .389 with five homers and 29 RBI and had prospective fantasy owners salivating. He was a trendy pick in drafts and many were counting on a big season out of the Kansas City first baseman.

Then the wheels fell off.

Hosmer, who had been expected to provide some power, hit only 14 homers and drove in only 65 runs in 2012. Not exactly what his disciples were expecting when they were extolling his virtues prior to the season.

He started off slow once again this year, notching just one homer and 16 RBI in April and May. Many were questioning whether he would ever fulfill his potential.

But then he finally broke out in June.

Hosmer has eight homers, 19 RBI and 25 runs scored, along with a .310 average and three stolen bases in the last 30 days. More over, of those eight homers, seven have been hit in the last 14 days. So clearly Hosmer is seeing the ball well at the plate right now.

The key question becomes is this an aberration? Or, is it a case of Hosmer finally putting things together and finding his power stroke? Only time will tell. Unfortunately, with his ownership rate climbing to 72 percent time is not really something to waste if you’re considering picking him up. I say pull the trigger and at the very least ride the streak and then make adjustments as they’re needed if Hosmer falters.

It’s hard to give Hosmer the benefit of the doubt when he’s burned so many in the past. But if you believed the hype which made him the No. 8-ranked prospect by Baseball America prior to the 2011 season, then he’s worth a flier.

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Kyle Lohse has quietly begun to round into form.

No doubt, Lohse was hurt by the amount of spring training he missed while waiting to be signed following a stellar 16-3 season with the Cardinals. But Lohse has really turned it on of late for the Brewers, not registering a loss since May 30. He also hasn’t given up more than three runs in an outing since that date, including a gem against the Nationals on Wednesday which saw him pitch eight innings, giving up one run on four hits with a walk and seven strikeouts.

Given what Lohse has been able to do in the NL Central over the last several seasons, it’s somewhat surprising his ownership level sits at just 53 percent in Yahoo! leagues. Sure he really doesn’t strike out a ton of batters, but he’s been a dependable No. 3 or so starter and should have a higher ownership rate. If you’re in need of pitching help you could certainly do much worse.

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Carl Crawford was reportedly set to come off the disabled list yesterday, which creates something of a logjam for the Dodgers in the outfield.

Despite a bruised hip suffered Wednesday night, there is no way the Dodgers are taking Yasiel Puig out of the lineup. And it’s hard to imagine they’ll bench Matt Kemp either. So that really leaves Crawford and Andre Ethier as the two most likely candidates to split time.

Ethier has largely been a disappointment for the last year and a half. But he had picked it up a little of late, hitting .295 with a homer and 10 RBI in the last 30 days. Not tremendous numbers, but certainly better than what he had been providing.

Crawford had been playing well prior to hitting the DL, batting .301 with five homers, nine stolen bases and an .828 OPS in 51 games. If Crawford can stay healthy — which, as Red Sox fans can attest, is a big if — he’s probably going to get more time. But I can easily see the Dodgers giving him a day off here and there to keep him fresh and to keep Ethier involved.

The bottom line is Puig is here to stay, and Ethier’s value may take a big hit.

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Andy Silva writes the Fantasy Forecast column for The Salem News. You can reach him at asilva@salemnews.com. You can also follow Fantasy Forecast on Twitter at twitter.com/sn_fantasysport.