Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Taking a look at Grace, you can see Hosmer looks like a pretty similar hitter. Grace debuted at age 24 while Hosmer was called up at 21…however, Grace was a guy who moved through the minors quickly. The age difference is due to his playing college ball. Grace spent two years in the minors and was called up in year three of his career after playing 21 games at AAA in 1988. Hosmer spent roughly the same amount of time moving through the Kansas City Royals’ system – Grace played a total of 270 minor league games versus Hosmer’s 291.
Power was never a big part of Grace’s repertoire…he only made it into double digit HR territory 8 times in 16 seasons. Hosmer should have no trouble reaching double digits in just about every season he plays. That alone seems like it would be enough to differentiate Hosmer from Grace. But taking a closer look, comparing the per 162 game averages of their first four seasons (meaning I’m not looking at Hosmer’s 2015)…we see the following numbers:
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So the slash lines tilt in Grace’s favor here…although Hosmer slightly outslugs him. And keep in mind that Grace started his career at age 24. Hosmer was just shy of 2,400 plate appearances at the end of his age 24 season. If one of these guys can be considered a “phenom”, it’s going to be Hosmer.
Where Grace always excelled was batting average and his on base skills…and he hit a lot of doubles. As you can see above, the two are close in doubles and triples, Hosmer has a solid advantage in homers, and Grace drew a lot more walks (leading to nearly a 50 point OBP advantage).
To be fair…Hosmer is at his age 25 season in year five of his career…Grace was 25 in year two. Hosmer’s got a lot more potential to develop into something much more over the next decade, and is showing more grace (yeah…I went there) in his plate apperances thus far in 2015. It’s a small sample size, to be sure, but through 120 PA, Hosmer has 13 BB and just 22 K to go along with a .395 OBP. Hosmer is also off to a faster start than usual this year with his slugging, already logging 4 HR, 7 doubles, and 2 triples (good for a .538 SLG).
Next: Is Hosmer more like Will the Thrill?