No Doubt

Pardon me while I rave for a moment.

There’s a very real chance that Eric Hosmer is already my favorite major league baseball player, and he’s not even a major leaguer yet.

The scouting reports and breakout 2010 season were enough to get me amped up for his arrival, but his early spring training performance is garnering a lot of attention from Royals fans and, well, everyone else.

First, he homered off lefty prospect Chris Dwyer in an intrasquad game.  Okay, that’s fine.  It’s more of a scrimmage.  Nevermind that he blasted it just left of center off a top 100 prospect.

Then he hit what was apparently a long homer (according to David Holtzman) against the Rangers in the second spring training game.

Yesterday against the Cubs, he came up against another lefty, John Gaub, a Triple A pitcher. With the bases loaded, Hosmer went to 0-2, worked the count full, and on the ninth pitch, drilled a breaking ball for a grand slam.

So far this spring, he’s 5-8 with two homers and five RBI. In naming him our #1 prospect in the Royals system, I mentioned comments from Ned Yost that suggested he may be a summer callup, likely to start in Triple A. I was a bit surprised the franchise would move him that quickly with just three months of Double A at bats under his belt.

At this point, though, I can’t see why they wouldn’t go that route. I’ve discussed a bit about calling up prospects and considering their service time. In the case of Hosmer, the approach the Rays used with Evan Longoria should be the same approach the Royals use with Hosmer. He’s ready – lock him up now.

Jason Parks of Baseball Prospectus is impressed. Earlier today, he pronounced Hosmer the “best offensive prospect in baseball“. Not Bryce Harper, not Mike Trout, no Dustin Ackley. Eric Hosmer.

A shotgun blast.  A meteoric rise.

And to think, I was upset the Royals passed up Justin Smoak in the 2008 draft.  At this point, there’s no doubt they made the right pick.

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Tags: AL Central Baseball Eric Hosmer Kansas City Royals KC MLB Royals

  • Corey Ettinger

    The Hoz has looked phenomenal so far. I think the big thing for Royals fans, and more importantly, the Royals front office – is to be very deliberate with these guys.

    A) The team isn’t going to win the Central this year. They aren’t there yet. In fact, they’re probably going to lose a ton of games.

    B) In light of that, there is absolutely no need to rush anyone. Take your time. If you can hold off on bringing them up at all until 2012 – do it. Not only are you pushing back the arb. clock, you’re saving a potentially very valuable option year if you can keep them off the 40-man.

    That extra option year likely won’t mean anything for guys like Moose and The Hoz – but it might mean everything for some of the bullpen and rotation arms.

  • Kyle

    I’m just curious, why keep pushing them back? The team the Royals might put on the field, might not compete this year. But they might not compete in 2012, if they keep pushing the prospects back to AA and AAA. Pretty much every player is going to take some lumps right when they get to the ML. Why not let Moustakas and Hosmer take those lumps in 2011? Especially if they are ready! Let Monty, Lamb, Duffy, Dwyer, Crow, etc take their lumps next year.

    There is no need to rush them, but if they are showing that they are ready, why not get them up?

    • Michael Engel

      It’s mostly just manipulating service time for arbitration purposes. The more I read comments, quotes and the like, the more I get the feeling Hosmer will be in KC this summer. If they hold off until about mid-July, they can fend off Super Two status for him…and ideally just offer him an extension to buy out his arbitration years and maybe tack on two or three helpful option years on top of it to keep him around until about 2020 or so…

      But Moose will be up. I have a hunch Crow and Duffy will be up this year. Montgomery might be a second half guy. It’s really just a matter of trying to time it so they don’t have 12 top-notch guys all needing new contracts at once. They have salary flexibility but they can’t work miracles.

    • Corey Ettinger

      Kyle, odds are that Moose and The Hoz will get their feet wet (at least) in 2011. Still, both players have areas of their game they can improve on in AAA. They still have important lessons they can learn from AAA pitchers who are more adept at pitching backwards, have better breaking stuff and command.

      They’ll both be very good, but every care should be taken to not rush these guys and lose valuable service time.

  • tbr

    Previously, I was 100% certain that the Royals would not be able to get Moose and Hos to sign long term simply because they are Boras clients. But the fact that Carlos Gonzalez – another Boras client – signed a long term contract this winter made me feel a whole lot better about things. All Gonzalez had to do was simply tell Boras that he wanted to sign. So if these guys want to sign they’ll do it.

    (Just don’t expect a Longoria-type contract. Boras may be a lot of things, but dumb isn’t one of them.)

  • thelaundry

    tbr has it right. With Boras clients you can’t be surprised when they are counting the days until they can cash in as a free agent. But Boras is perfectly willing to convince a player’s current team to overpay (see Holliday, Matt).

    I am glad the Royals had the stones to start drafting Boras clients. Moose and Hoz may be gone at the first opportunity, but this whole discussion assumes they will be mashing in the majors for the next few years, and I will definitely take that.