With the Kansas City Royals offense being inconsistent at best, it is easy to look at the key components of the lineup and wonder why they are not producing. Billy Butler has seemingly become the focal point for those wanting a scapegoat for the Royals offensive woes, with people going so far as to suggest that he be benched or outright released. Yet, it is not just Butler that bears the burden of disappointment thus far in the season. Based on his lack of power in the early going, it could be thought that Eric Hosmer needs to shoulder his end of the blame as well.
While Hosmer has put together a .295 batting average and a .356 on base percentage, he really is not hitting for power. For a player that was expected to have turned the corner, Hosmer has disappointed in terms of extra base hits, hitting only seven doubles thus far. For all the focus that has been placed on Butler for his lack of power and his penchant for hitting into double plays, Hosmer has also yet to homer on the season, and has hit into six double plays.
Yet, slower starts are nothing new for Eric Hosmer. Over his major league career, Hosmer has homered only five times in March and April. In fact, all five of those home runs occurred in 2012, during a month when Hosmer produced a .188/.274/.388 batting line. For his career, the first month of the season is easily Hosmer’s worst, as he has a career .246/.323/.357 batting line.
Things may not get much better in May either. During that month, Hosmer has an OPS that is only nine points higher than what he produces during march and April. It is not until June when Hosmer typically starts to heat up, producing more power and coming closer to the hitter that the Royals had over the last four months of the season.
It may be that, instead of Hosmer turning a corner last year under the tutelage of George Brett, he simply got hot at the same time. Hosmer’s OPS jumps by 72 points from May to June, so the timing of Brett joining the Royals and Hosmer suddenly coming alive may have just been a coincidence. It could be that Hosmer is just one of those players who, each year, will struggle during the beginning part of the season before heating up with the weather. Based on his track record, once the dog days of summer come around, so will Eric Hosmer’s bat.
Eric Hosmer may have a solid batting average, but for a player that was expected to make the leap this season, 2014 could be classified as a bit of a disappointment thus far. However, based off of Hosmer’s track record of slow starts, his solid batting average may be a positive sign. If he is hitting at this rate now, he may be able to produce even better once he gets to the point in the season where he is more comfortable.
Since he has not hit a home run or stolen a base this season, it appears as though Eric Hosmer may be in the middle of another slow start. Yet, this start could be a precursor for much better things to come.