Hopefully you were able to watch the All-Star Futures game last night. With two big name Royals prospects named to Team USA (and both starting), this was my first opportunity to see live game footage of Mike Moustakas and Eric Hosmer. For that reason alone, it was worth watching.
Moustakas went 0-3 but did make a nice play on a sharp grounder down the line, a play I wouldn’t have expected him to make. Hosmer, however, was the standout Royals prospect, going 4-5 with a double, driving in two and scoring twice. Were they anywhere but Anaheim, he would have been the MVP. That honor went to Angels prospect Hank Conger who hit a three run homer to put some distance between Team USA and the World team.
Sure, it’s just one game, but there’s no shock that Hosmer and Moustakas are viewed as the future of the franchise. But also in this one game, Hosmer made a name for himself.
If you’ll allow me a little bit of midwestern media envy, though. Hosmer got jobbed. Show me any other hitter who’s yet to reach the legal drinking age (Hosmer turns 21 on October) who would get four hits off of four different all-star prospect pitchers who didn’t deserve to be honored at the end of the game. Conger’s homer was impressive, okay. But the announcers spent more time gushing over who would “hit the homerun to be the MVP” that they missed out on a pretty strong performance.
Even after the game, all I see in most reports is praise for Mike Trout or Gorkys Hernandez or fastball speeds, but hardly anything about a 20 year old pure hitter who came an inch down the barrel from a 5-5 day (Hosmer lined out in his one hitless at-bat, but still had some mustard on it despite it going off the end of the bat). Not to take anything away from the other prospects, but anytime somebody has a day like that, they deserve more than a cursory mention on the path to a more coastal prospect.
I guess my frustration stems from the way sports coverage is dominated by which coast you’re in, while us folks in the middle of the country wait until the last eight minutes of SportsCenter to see our team’s results, and, if we’re lucky, a two or three highlights. I can’t wait until 2013, 2014 when Hosmer and Moustakas start making teams and media outlets stand up and take notice. I mean, I get it, there are more viewers in New York and Boston and Los Angeles, but maybe a little more attention would ensure that your announcers don’t pronounce a prospect’s name as “Moot-ZAKAS” or could help you avoid calling one of the best closers in the game “Joe-Keem” Soria.
Maybe I’m sick of the Royals being a national joke. Maybe I’m sick of them allowing themselves to be the subject of mockery. But when things do go right for the franchise, I’d like it to not go overlooked.
And hopefully, in a couple of years, things will go right so there won’t be any way to overlook the success. A few more 4-5 days from Eric Hosmer would go a long way towards that. (And until then, get him to Arvest Ballpark already. He’s been ready.)