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First Baseman Profile: The Tepid Love That Is Eric Hosmer

Even Hosmer's biggest fans (me) have to admit he's been disappointing. What can we expect in 2015?

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

You don't like Eric Hosmer as much as me. I promise. Unless your last name is Hosmer - or perhaps Jazayerli - it just ain't happening. So when I write the next paragraph, know that I'm not a hater or a downer or some other noun Taylor Swift might rhyme about.

If you go into this season with Eric Hosmer as your starting fantasy first baseman, you've screwed up. And if he's your corner infielder ... you might well have screwed up as well.

I just watched the Super Bowl, and Chris Matthews had himself a day. Four catches, 109 yards, a touchdown. A couple weeks ago, before he recovered that onside kick against Green Bay, you couldn't tell me his name, and I only could because he went to Kentucky and I kinda-sorta vaguely remembered him. Now, after that Super Bowl performance, dollars-to-doughnuts there will be some people who enter next season calling Matthews a sleeper or an up-and-comer, and I bet he gets drafted.

It's possible that will be smart. It's far more possible Chris Matthews benefitted from Darrelle Revis and Brandon Browner manning up on the other Seattle receivers, and the ball had to go somewhere.

The moral is that a nice playoff performance does not outweigh much more modest regular-season numbers.

Back to Hosmer. Dude hit .270/.318/.398 in the regular season, with nine home runs. For Andrelton Simmons, with an elite glove at a premium position, hey, that ain't bad. But for a first baseman, that's underwhelming, if I'm being kind.

Then the postseason came, and Hosmer woke up. He hit .351/.439/.544 in 15 postseason games, including a line that sat at .400/.538/1.100 through the wild-card round. It just happened that the hottest stretch of Hosmer's season came on national TV, with Baseball Twitter commenting on every pitch.

It's been long enough since the hot playoffs that I think the Hosmer infatuation from last fall has faded, though if he had stayed just as hot through the World Series and the Royals had beaten the Giants, I think this would be different, and there would be talk of "Eric Hosmer, Upper Tier First Baseman." So I don't know that I have to ride this train all the way, but still. You know, just in case.

All of this in no way, of course, says that Hosmer is without fantasy relevance. Just like you've made a boo-boo if you're counting on him as your starter, if your draft ends and Hosmer hasn't been picked, that's boo-boo-worthy as well. Because the book on Hosmer has not yet been completed.

Dude's not even 25 and a half yet. He hit 19 home runs as a 21-year-old, and has a career OPS+ of 104. His HR/FB percentage last year was 6.8, which is just silly - it had never been below 11.3 in any season before, and his successful 2011 and 2013 both fell above 13.0. Add just a few home runs to a .270/.318/.398 2014, and it isn't a great year, but it's no longer the disaster it appeared to be.

Best bet? Hosmer's fine in 2015. At this point, I think we have to revise our superstar prognostications of him. That MVP upside still exists, but it isn't high on the list of possible outcomes anymore. But Hosmer becoming James Loney isn't significantly more likely.

Don't draft him as your starter. Don't leave him undrafted. And say nice things about him, dangit, because he's still my shnookums and I love him so.