Royals Time Machine: All-Time Defensive Team
FIRST BASE: ERIC HOSMER
Eric Hosmer is the only Kansas City Royals first baseman to ever win a Gold Glove as a member of the team. Like teammate Salvador Perez, Hosmer has won the award three times.
first base is a position that advanced metrics don’t quantify well
Again, like Salvador Perez, Hosmer is only 26. However, he’s only under contract with the KC Royals through the 2017 season and could very well leave as a free-agent. Even so, Hosmer could easily finish his Kansas City career with five Gold Gloves at first base.
The funny thing is that advanced metrics don’t see Hosmer as a defensive whiz. In fact, Ultimate Zone Rating and Fangraphs.com’s DEF metric both view him as a below average first baseman (notice the overall negative advanced fielding numbers for his career).
However, first base is a position that the advanced metrics don’t quantify well since they mostly measure how many balls a player can field. For every position but first base and catcher, that might be the the most important skill.
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First sackers, on the other hand, earn their bones with their ability to snag errant throws from infielders. That’s where a first baseman can really save runs. A good one can enable his infielders to attempt more difficult plays knowing that their first baseman has them covered if they can get the throw close to the bag—even if they bury it in the dirt.
Eric Hosmer, however, is not the only defensive standout at first base in club history. John Mayberry and Wally Joyner both had deft hands around the bag for the Kansas City Royals, but neither one earned the recognition from their peers that Hosmer has in the last three seasons.
So far, both members of the all-time KC Royals defensive team play on the current incarnation. I guess that tells you the defending World Champions play some mean defense.
Next: Second Base