This past season was filled with disappoints for the Kansas City Royals. Some of that could be credited to untimely injuries, while most falls in the category of dismal performances.
For first baseman Eric Hosmer, the latter was the culprit in his case. The physically gifted first baseman exploded on to the radar in 2011, slugging 19 home runs, while driving in 78 RBIs (.298 AVG/.465 SLG/.799 OPS). Unfortunately, he followed that season up with a 14 home run and 60 RBI-season (.232/.359/.663). In need of results and change this season, Hosmer invested in his future with what hopes to be substantial life-style changes this offseason.
We’ve already heard about right fielder Jeff Francoeur revamping his offseason diet, training regime and work ethic, but now it’s Hosmer’s time to pull a changeup. According to Jerry Crasnick of ESPN, Hosmer built an offseason home in his home state of Florida, which included a home gym and new batting cage to hone his swing. Hosmer made it a point to video-tape his hitting sessions, while staying in close contact with the Royals’ new hitting coach Jack Maloof for his input. Specifically, Hosmer has been working on improving the way he handles curveballs and offspeed pitches in the batting cage this spring
On top of his financial investment, Hosmer adopted a new health plan, as well as a new strength and conditioning program, monitored closely by the Royals head strength and conditioning coordinator Ryan Stoneberg. The results included 10 pounds of muscle tacked on to Hosmer’s lanky frame.
Hosmer hopes to keep this weight on, but the constant conditioning and workload early on in spring training, plus the 162-game grind of the regular season could trim that weight off of Hosmer’s frame quickly.
When I look at the improvements Hosmer has made a commitment to making, I see a guy who doesn’t recognize last year as a fluke, but learning opportunity that natural ability will not carry the young first baseman to stardom. Instead, Hosmer is making the moves of a veteran with a decade of experience under his belt. Hopefully with the help of Hosmer’s physical training, plus the combination of the mental aspect, the Royals cornerstone player of the future (and by that I mean the “now”) will bounce back in his junior season as one of the premier offensive threats and defensive studs that he was selected to be.