One player that keeps getting attention by the fans, front office, and the media, is Eric Hosmer, and deservedly so. There is a lot of hype surrounding the third overall pick from 2008, as he emerged on the scene last year in Kansas City, and found a home in the heart of the order. As a Royals fan, I am extremely pleased that he is with this organization, and thankful the front office was able to sign him minutes before the deadline in August of 2008. His signing could go down as one of the most important deals in club history. Hosmer was mere minutes away from not getting a deal finished and pursuing a collegiate career at Arizona St. University. If that would have been the case, he would have been an afterthought for the Royals and their fans.
Hosmer seems to have an aura about him that makes him a very special, charismatic player. He has been a spark plug ever since his much anticipated debut last May, and seems to have single-handedly rejuvenated and captivated the Royals fan base and the entire organization. He displays just the right amount of confidence and swagger for the young talented star he is becoming. I find it amazing, watching him handle himself in games and in interviews, as he always seems to be at ease and is very comfortable no matter what the situation. When I watch this guy play, I see an instant star and someone who can handle the attention of the national media. He carries himself the way a ballplayer should carry himself on and off the field, and is a great person for young ballplayers to look up to as a role model. At 22, Hosmer is already the face of the franchise heading into his sophomore year. On top of that, he is the featured Royal in the “Our Time” commercial. It’s fairly evident, when Hosmer goes, so does this franchise.
Another thing I have noticed are the comparisons Hosmer receives to several other young stars in the game today. One that stuck out to me was the comparison of Hosmer to Cincinnati Reds slugger, Joey Votto. I have seen this one several times, and I believe it is a great fit. Both are left-handed hitters who are known for their sweet swings and great defensive play at first base. Votto has progressively improved his play at first base throughout his career, and even won a gold glove last season. I know there are some people out there who would agree with me, that Hosmer is already a better defensive first baseman than Votto, and is on his way to winning a few himself. Hosmer is also capable of putting up the same type of numbers Votto has recently rattled off at the plate. I firmly believe “The Hoz” will be in contention for an MVP award for several seasons to come. This comparison alone should help people understand what type of star Hosmer is becoming. He’s being compared to a recent National League MVP and he hasn’t even played a full major league season yet.
Coming into 2011, Hosmer was the number 8 rated prospect by Baseball America, and for his first month in Triple-A all he did was rake, and finally forced the Royals hand to call him up. In his first season, Hosmer slashed .293/.334/.465 and I believe he will improve on all these numbers this season. His slugging percentage should see the largest jump, but I also expect him to walk at a slightly higher clip, which would raise his OBP. This year will be another great year and a stepping stone for Hosmer to propel himself into elite status as a Major League ballplayer. He has already established his name in baseball circles around the country and is on his way to becoming an icon in Kansas City, following in the footsteps of Hall of Famer, George Brett. The Royals should take some major steps this year toward becoming a contender for several years, and they will be led by the man we all call “Hoz”.
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