Decision Making Behind Hosmer's Call-Up Is Flawed

It is hard to know the true motive for why Eric Hosmer was called up. Does Dayton Moore think he has nothing left to prove in AAA? Does Moore truly think we can contend this year? Does Moore think Kila is a lost cause? I have no way of definitively proving anything, but based on the information available, I think some conclusions could be drawn. I believe Moore wanted to keep Hosmer in AAA for another month, but truly believes that this team can contend all season long, and has already given up on Kila Ka'aihue as a hitter. Moore has shown in the past that if you are not "his" guy, you have to prove your worth to him. In my opinion, this is similar to countries where a defendant has to prove their innocence, instead of the burden of proof being placed on the prosecution. I believe the Royals assumed Kila is bad, and since Kila didn't "prove" otherwise, they continue to assume he is bad.  If this is the end of Kila Ka'aihue as a Royal, the Royal's thought process behind banishing Kila to AAA forever is flawed, regardless of how well he performs for the rest of his career. 326 PA is not enough time to determine if someone can hit at the major league level.

If you look at player's rookie seasons, they are not good at predicting how well players will perform during there career. Just because someone is bad as a rookie doesn't mean he will be bad forever, and vice versa. Thanks to Fangraphs, we can now easily compare players rookie seasons to one another. Here is a table comparing some players and there early season statistics.

 

Player PA BA OBP SLG wOBA BB% K%
Kila Ka'aihue 326 0.216 0.309 0.375 0.302 12% 23.70%
Aubrey Huff 563 0.257 0.295 0.388 0.293 5% 16.90%
Brandon Phillips 429 0.212 0.251 0.319 0.247 4% 20.70%
Carlos Gonzalez 316 0.242 0.273 0.361 0.278 4.10% 26.80%
Michael Young 431 0.247 0.296 0.399 0.301 6% 23.70%
Jason Kubel 302 0.254 0.297 0.396 0.301 6% 19.30%
Jose Bautista 596 0.225 0.318 0.376 0.303 9.40% 30.40%
Alex Gordon 601 0.247 0.314 0.411 0.317 6.80% 25.20%
Chris Duncan 324 0.291 0.358 0.591 0.396 9.30% 25.50%
Mitch Melusky 400 0.301 0.401 0.487 0.382 13.80% 22.00%
Lew Ford 741 0.302 0.383 0.461 0.373 10.10% 13.10%

 

This is a small sample, but you can go look for yourself. While more players who struggled early ended up being bad, and more players who dominated early ended up being good, the numbers are simply all over the place. You cannot draw any firm conclusions about how a player will perform in his career from so few PA. It's not like Kila Ka'aihue hasn't hit in the minors, the man has a .285/.424/.581 career triple slash line in AAA. If this demotion was about Kila needing to go down to regain a little bit of confidence, I would feel a little better about it. If Hosmer had more than 117 PA in AAA, I would feel better about it. If the Royals team pitching staff ERA wasn't 4.43 (7th worst in the league) with a K/BB ratio lower than 2:1 I would feel better about the team's chances of contending this season.

The way I see it, the decision making is flawed, no matter what angle you want to take. If Dayton Moore truly thinks Kila Ka'aihue is bad, then he doesn't (or is selectively choosing not to) understand that it takes time for players to get adjusted to the major leagues. If Moore truly thinks Hosmer has proven all that he needs to prove in AAA and is ready for the majors, then he again is not (or is choosing not to) understand small sample sizes. If Dayton Moore truly thinks that this team can contend, regardless of how the rest of our division is playing, he again doesn't understand small sample sizes, or has overrated the collection of talent he has assembled, especially on the pitching staff. Calling up more prospects won't necessarily fix the problem either. Montgomery and Duffy could get called up and dominate, or could get called up and struggle. Both would be rushed to the majors if called up right now, which would further indicate flawed logic. Plus, both pitchers might not have the arm strength to pitch a full season in the big leagues, and if they hurt their arms pitching this season for a team that has little chance of contending, Moore potentially could ruin their careers before the Royals have a true chance to contend.

I know this article is negative, but I would be lying to you if I said I wasn't excited to see Hosmer. I plan on driving up from Lawrence after my classes are finished tomorrow to witness his first Major League game. I will, however, save the Hosmer hoopla for tomorrow. Tonight, I am more worried about the logic behind why Dayton Moore made the decision to promote Hosmer, and what that could mean for the Royals future. If Dayton and Ned are consistently promoting, demoting, and benching prospects based on how well they perform after a small sample size, then they will hurt the development of the young players. If Moore and Yost truly believes this team can contend, then I don't believe they have the knowledge of baseball and the ability to not get caught up in the moment like a fan that I would like out of my GM and Manager. So I am happy for Hosmer, hope he hits .400 the rest of the season and helps keep this team in a pennant race all season. I am, however, worried about the decision making behind the promotion and what that might mean for the future.

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