Thursday, May 5, 2011

Here Comes Hosmer

Word is spreading that the Kansas City Royals have just made what will certainly be one of the most anticipated call ups of the 2011 season. Top prospect Eric Hosmer, who dazzled with his power and contact skills during spring training will finally get his first chance to show the world precisely why he's been so highly regarded around the game.

After watching him hit - and no, these aren't typos - .439/.525/.582 over 118 AAA plate appearances in Omaha this spring the Royals decided to make the call up. Whether they did so due to Kila Ka'aihue's early struggles (though he's posted a .792 OPS over his last 8 games) or simply because Hosmer clearly wasn't being challenged matters little, the King of Omaha is on his way.

For his part, GM Dayton Moore says simply, "he helps us put our best team on the field," which makes sense given that the Royals are surprisingly in second place after the seasons first month and looking like potential contenders. To make room for Hosmer, the team moved catcher Jason Kendall to the 60-day disabled list and sent the struggling Kila to Omaha.

A strong defender at first base with above average speed for a first baseman, Hosmer's game is more than just offense. He's a well rounded player who projects as an asset on the bases (he could steal 5-10 bases) with a glove that could be golden at first.

If there has been anything missing from Hosmer's incredible start, it's the prodigious power we saw so much of in spring training. After posting a .303 ISO in AA last season, that mark has fallen to just .143 this season as he has just 3 home runs and 9 extra base hits overall. I'm not particularly concerned however, his power is tremendous and it's just a matter of time until it manifests itself. If all he does is hit for a strong average, continue to draw walks at a high rate and throw in some power, I'm sure the team could live with a huge OBP machine.

Of course on an organizational level, the move does present some problems. Talented as Hosmer is, the Royals were hoping they wouldn't have to utilize him this early in the season, if at all. That's largely because they were hoping that the team could be carried by the duo of Billy Butler and Ka'aihue. The team then could've looked to the trade market to clear room by dealing Ka'aihue and adding still more prospects to an already overflowing system.

The team could still look to move Ka'aihue of course, but instead of dealing him off a hot start, as they had hoped, they'd have to do so with the taste of some Major League struggles in the mouths of potential suitors.

Either way, the promotion of Hosmer to the Majors should serve as one of the highlights of the season for Royals fans as he offers not just hope to their team, but an intriguing storyline similar to that of Jason Heyward in 2010.

Which makes this particular call up much more than just a call up.

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