Sep 20, 2013; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Royals first basemen Eric Hosmer (35) takes fielding practice before a game against the Texas Rangers at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports
Since his rookie season ended with such promise, it has been expected that Eric Hosmer would pair up with Mike Moustakas to provide the Royals with an excellent core in the third and fourth slots in the lineup. However, Moustakas has yet to reach his potential, although there may be signs that he is at least showing progress. Hosmer, meanwhile, is displaying signs that he may be about to become that middle of the order bat that the Royals envisioned when they drafted him with the third overall pick in 2008.
Hosmer struggled early in the season, with a .244/.320/.313 batting line through May 17th. Even more disturbing than his low batting average was that Hosmer was not hitting for any power at all, with only six extra base hits in his first 37 games. He was not hitting the ball with any authority, and his promising rookie season seemed as though it may have been an aberration.
From that point on, Hosmer was a completely different player. He finished the season on tear, putting together a .320/.387/.456 batting line with thirteen extra base hits over the final six weeks of the season. Hosmer’s dramatic improvement, coupled with his excellent final month and a half, led to his first season hitting over .300 for the year. Is this a sign of things to come?
Although Hosmer may not be the prototypical first baseman in terms of power, he may be able to provide even more than to just be a power hitter. Hosmer hit 34 doubles, and be become a player that can hit over 40 doubles with over 20 home runs a season. His line drive rate, with ended at 23% last season, may be an indication that Hosmer could potentially be on the verge of breaking through.
The Royals are likely to need Eric Hosmer to continue his improvement in order to have the type of offense they envision. Even if Hosmer does not develop into a thirty home run hitter, having a first baseman that consistently hits over .300 that hits plenty of doubles while playing Gold Glove caliber defense is certainly valuable. That may be exactly what Hosmer can develop into.
Eric Hosmer appears as though he is about to break out, and become a true presence in the lineup. Hosmer displayed signs that he would be able to be just that last season; now, he just needs to build on that performance.