Although outgoing Royal Eric Hosmer is a clear bet to take home the largest contract among first basemen this winter, Travis Sawchik of Fangraphs suspects that career Indians first baseman Carlos Santana will outperform Hosmer for at least the next three years. While Hosmer is younger than Santana and had a better 2017 season by fWAR, Sawchik notes that Santana’s primary skill (his batting eye) is a better bet to age well than any other skill that either player brings to the table. Hosmer has also posted negative fWAR totals in two of his major league seasons; something Santana has never done. Worth mentioning: Santana was worth a total of 21.2 fWAR from 2011-2017, while Hosmer was worth a mere 9.9.
Elsewhere across baseball’s central divisions…
- The offseason for Cardinals’ shortstop Paul DeJong will be an interesting one. As CBS2’s Steve Overmyer reported from New York on Thursday, DeJong has joined renowned scientist Dr. Lawrence Rocks in a lab study about the effects of heat and weather on baseball flight distance. Early returns in the study seem to indicate that while baseballs are likely to travel shorter distances as temperatures get colder, they are also likely to travel shorter distances if temperatures increase past a certain point. “As you decrease temperature, you get less bounce, like an automobile tire on a very cold day – it’s a little more brittle,” Rocks said. “As you increase temperature, the elastomeres get a little mooshy; you get less bounce.”
- While Cubs GM Jed Hoyer has declined to comment on his team’s pursuit of Shohei Ohtani, Patrick Mooney of NBC Sports Chicago suggests a plan of attack for the team in trying to acquire the Japanese ace. While bringing an end to “The Curse” is no longer a selling point (as it may have been to Jon Lester and some others, according to Mooney), Chicago still has plenty to offer as a city. Hoyer will be working hard to put together a more attractive pitch to Ohtani and his agents than the other 29 MLB teams that will be vying for the two-way star’s services.