Dayton Moore and the Kansas City Royals will have an incredibly difficult decision to make this offseason. Three integral players are free agents; only one is likely to stay. It needs to be Eric Hosmer.
I was at that game in 2011. I bought one of the very first Eric Hosmer jerseys. And I remember as he showed incredible patience during his first plate appearance and drew a walk. Then in his second, he walked again and proceeded to steal second base.
He showed a composure that not many rookies show. To many, including general manager Dayton Moore, Hosmer’s debut marked the turning point in the Kansas City Royals organization. (Read about Hosmer’s debut and some of Moore’s comments in an amazing article by Rustin Dodd from the Kansas City Star here.)
Hosmer is the lifeblood of this Kansas City Royals organization.
So far in 2017, Hosmer is slashing a ridiculous .328/.391/.517/.910 with 24 HR and 85 RBI with 20 games to go. His .328 batting average ranks third in all of baseball and would set a career high by 26 points. His .391 on-base percentage ranks 13th in all of baseball and would set a career high by 30 points. Hosmer’s .517 slugging percentage is 33rd in all of baseball and would set a career high by 52 points. His .910 OPS ranks 20th in all of baseball and would set a career high by 88 (!!!) points.
To say that Eric Hosmer is having a career year, would be an understatement, and he’s peaking at the right time for the Kansas City Royals.
Hosmer is a star. He may not hit for as much power as some would like from a first basemen. But he is one homer away from a career high with 20 games to go, and his power continues to develop. He also has to play 81 of his games at Kauffman Stadium, which is hardly conducive to hitting homers.
Of the “Big Three” free agents, Hosmer is the youngest. Lorenzo Cain is on the wrong side of 30 and Mike Moustakas will be 30 when next season ends. Hosmer is also the only player without a history of injury problems. We all know of Cain’s struggles to play a full season (although, knock on wood, he’s done admirably this year), and Moustakas seems to be trending in the wrong direction in terms of health.
Hosmer, on the other hand, has started every single game for the Kansas City Royals this season.
Hosmer currently ranks first on the Royals roster in batting average, RBI, runs scored, on-base percentage, OPS, hits, walks and games played. This offense doesn’t go without him.
Kansas City Royals
He had one bad month in April, but since then, his worst month consisted of him hitting .297 with six homers. For comparison, Cain has had two separate months where he hit in the .240s with a combined three homers in those months. Moustakas hit .232 in May, but he was one of the only guys who could buy a hit in April, to his credit.
Hosmer has been the model of consistency for Kansas City this year and has had an answer for everything that’s been thrown at him.
There’s no question that Hosmer has earned the money he’s going to receive this offseason. I know a lot of folks are worried about how much money that will ultimately be. I’m here to tell you not to worry about it.
Hosmer is still getting better and will only be 28 when the season begins in 2018. He’s a guy you can build the rest of a lineup around for the future. He is the face of the Kansas City Royals franchise around the country and handles the media with pure class.
The Royals need Eric Hosmer in Kansas City.
They need their star, and Hosmer is the type of star that could have a statue in the outfield if he plays his entire career here. No other team can offer him that type of glory.
In March, I told a couple of guys that I thought Hosmer ought to be the Kansas City Royals target in free agency, because I thought he was capable of putting together a .330 and 30 homer season. They laughed at me. After 20ish games, I laughed at myself.
I think I even called him “the most overrated player in baseball” at one point.
Hosmer has shoved my foot in my mouth, and I have never been so happy to be so wrong. He has finally lived up to his “top prospect” status and I think he’s only going to continue to get better.
Don’t get me wrong, I think Lorenzo Cain and Mike Moustakas still have bright careers ahead of them. But I think that Eric Hosmer—far and away—has the brightest future of all of the Royals’ upcoming free agents, and I think that Dayton Moore needs to hand him a blank check this offseason in order to keep him in Kansas City.