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Fantasy Baseball 2012: 1st Base Throw-Down: Hosmer vs. Freeman

ATLANTA, GA - SEPTEMBER 12:  Freddie Freeman #5 of the Atlanta Braves hits a deep pop fly that scores Michael Bourn #24 in the fifth inning against the Florida Marlins at Turner Field on September 12, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
Daniel WheelockContributor IIIFebruary 25, 2012

Every year there are sleepers that get so much hype they become overvalued. This year that list includes rookies Matt Moore and Bryce Harper and second-year men Brett Lawrie, Desmond Jennings and Eric Hosmer.

In this piece I will try to convince you that you should wait for someone like Freddie Freeman that will give you similar stats instead of overpaying for Eric Hosmer.

I like Hosmer as much as the next guy. He helped me claim a fantasy baseball championship last year. He was Baseball America's eighth-ranked prospect heading into 2011 and didn't disappoint when he was promoted in early May. The 22-year-old hit .293 with 19 home runs and 11 stolen bases in 523 at-bats.

I think his price tag (ADP of 53 at Mock Draft Central) is high for a first baseman that isn't going to hit more than 25 home runs. Hosmer never hit more than 20 home runs in the minors, he hits more ground balls than fly balls (1.04 GB/FB in '11) and he had an inflated 10.1 percent HR/FB ratio.

A whole 67 picks later, you can draft Freddie Freeman. Despite starting out slow (.217 average and three home runs through May 6), the 22-year-old finished the season with a .282 average, 21 home runs and 76 RBIs. I expect Freeman to have an average closer to .300 in 2012. From May 1 on, his average was .294 and he was a career .301 hitter in the minors.

Like Hosmer, I don't expect Freeman to hit more than 25 home runs in 2012. He is more of a gap hitter at this stage in his career, but those doubles will start turning into more and more home runs for the 6'5" lefty as he fills out his frame.

Let's look at some 2011 stats:

Batting Average

Hosmer: .293

Freeman: .282

At-Bats Per Home Run

Hosmer: 27.5

Freeman: 27.2

OPS

Hosmer: .799

Freeman: .795

I'm not saying that Freeman will have the better season in 2012. In fact, I would take Hosmer over Freeman if I had to choose between the two. He hits in the middle of the Royals' lineup which gives him more run and RBI potential. Also, his ability to swipe a sneaky 10-plus bags is a nice thing to have from a first baseman.

I'm just saying there's no way that six rounds should separate the two. In a recent mock auction draft I participated in, Hosmer went for $26 and Freeman went for $10. Ridiculous.

Be smart and don't overpay for Eric Hosmer on draft day.

For more fantasy baseball insight, visit us at www.fantasysportskings.com

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