As noted earlier today, Mark Teixeira is out of the WBC with a strained right wrist, suffered before yesterday’s game versus the White Sox. Manager Joe Torre opted to plug super utility guy Ben Zobrist in a first base, a testament to Zobrist’s versatility.
But the team probably needs a “real” starting first baseman so Zobrist might ply his diverse trade around the rest of the diamond, giving days off and keeping Willie Bloomquist anchored to the bench. While big names like Prince Fielder and Ryan Howard are out there, it seems Team USA prefers an Arizona-based player, tipping Eric Hosmer of the Kansas City Royals to don the red, white and blue.
— MLB (@MLB) March 6, 2013
Eric Hosmer is yet to live up to his considerable potential (and the considerable hype that comes with that potential.) Last spring, some writers were thinking MVP for Hosmer, as he crushed the ball all spring before slumping through 2012. Hosmer posted just a .291 wOBA in 2012 after going nuts all spring (as he is wont to do.) Across three springs, Hosmer owns a .405/.466/.722 line with 8 home runs in 126 at bats. Meaningless except, you know, maybe not!
Hosmer is a good defender and, most importantly (to me), left-handed batter. Among the USA regulars, only Joe Mauer hits left (though Jimmy Rollins and Shane Victorino are switch hitters). While adding Prince Fielder accomplishes this very same feat in addition to adding a better player, Hosmer is not a bad addition for Team USA. As with everything pertaining to the American WBC entry, hopefully fans and writers can focus on what a good player Hosmer actually is rather that who he isn’t.