Royals: Eric Hosmer Finally Realizing Potential

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Apr 30, 2016; Seattle, WA, USA; Kansas City Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer (35) participates in batting practice before a game against the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 30, 2016; Seattle, WA, USA; Kansas City Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer (35) participates in batting practice before a game against the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports /
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Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer is finally realizing his potential in his age 26 season.

Sure, aging curves say that position players peak in their age-26 season. But, it’s been a long slog for Kansas City Royals star Eric Hosmer after he burst on the scene with a strong .293/.334/.465 debut at age-21 in 2011. He finished third in the American League Rookie-of-the-Year vote that season. Along with his no. 3 overall draft pedigree, Hosmer seemed destined to tear up AL pitchers for years to come.

Instead, Hosmer bounced back-and-forth between good and bad stat lines over the next four years, while only incrementally improving on his rookie output at the high points. With young phenoms like Mike Trout, Bryce Harper, and Manny Machado putting up prodigious starts to their careers, Hosmer became something of an afterthought when people talked about the game’s best young hitters.

However, Eric Hosmer began to change that narrative with a strong October in 2014 that helped carry the KC Royals to their first pennant in 29 years. Add in a strong 2015 season, a heroic play to steal a run at a critical juncture in the World Series, and what appears to be a breakthrough at the plate opening the 2016 season, and Hosmer is now poised to seize a place among the most heralded players in the game.

Eric Hosmer is hitting an outstanding .333/.374/.538 with a .911 OPS and four home runs in the first month of play in 2016. He’s continuing his trademark strong defense, which puts him in line for his fourth gold glove in a row. According to ESPN, Hosmer’s start projects to a .333/34 2B/27 HR season. He’s putting up the kind of production you expect from an elite first baseman.

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Or, to put it in more visceral terms: does anyone really doubt that we’ll see numerous pictures of Bryce Harper and Eric Hosmer exchanging pleasantries with the Washington Nationals in Kansas City to play a three game set with the Defending Champion Royals?

C’mon, do you really think photographers are gonna miss the chance to pair the 2015 National League MVP with the guy who produced the most iconic play in recent World Series history?

It’s a men’s hair product commercial waiting to happen. There aren’t two young MLB stars with more glorious locks than Bryce Harper and Eric Hosmer.

The thing that’s most encouraging about Hosmer’s April is that he didn’t appear to be sizzling hot. Yes, he enjoyed an 18-game hitting streak, but he’s not bashing an unusual amount of home runs, nor is he getting an unsustainable number of seeing-eye hits. Instead, Hosmer’s April appeared to be the product of more consistency. Gone are off-balanced swings and a sometimes uncertain approach at the plate. In their place seems to be a KC Royals hitter whose game has matured.

In short, Hosmer’s month looks sustainable—with, perhaps, a backtrack in his batting average.

Next: KC Royals Home For Three-Game Set vs. Nationals

Enjoy it while you can Kansas City Royals fans. Eric Hosmer’s eligible to become a free-agent after the 2017 season.

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