KANSAS CITY, MO - JULY 22: Eric Hosmer #35 of the Kansas City Royals slides into home safely as Drew Butera #41 of the Minnesota Twins waits for the throw in the ninth inning at Kauffman Stadium on July 22, 2012 in Kansas City, Missouri. Hosmer scored on a Alex Gordon sacrifice fly. The Twins won 7-5. (Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images)
Eric Hosmer hasn't exactly had the season that many were anticipating or the season that the Royals needed. Since the beginning of the off-season, it was clear that for the Royals to be in contention this year they needed to have some serious offensive output from their young core of talent. Hosmer was a significant piece and his failings have helped propel the Royals to a well below average 4.1 runs per game.
However, it seems as if Hosmer has begun to dig himself out of the hole he created early in the season and has started passing other Royals in many offensive categories. That's something, I guess, but more importantly I'm interested in how he compares to his peers at first base in the American League. So let's investigate.Looking at the entire season, here is the rank of all qualified American League first basemen sorted by wOBA.
On the bright side, he hasn't been the worst first baseman in the league. Not worst, though is far from what we expected, hoped and needed. But he's still a very young player, there's plenty of time for him to develop into Paul Konerko, although nothing says he won't devolve into a Justin Smoak either. But, as we all know Hosmer started out very poorly and has come on strong, so how has he ranked as the months have rolled by?
|Hosmer - May||.218||.262||.317||.253||14|
|Hosmer - June||.270||.340||.438||.350||3|
|Hosmer - July||.242||.327||.305||.290||12|
|Hosmer - August||.295||.356||.436||.346||8|
It doesn't just seem like Hosmer is slowing getting things figured out, the numbers show it to be so. The first two months of the season assured that barring an MVP type rest of the year, Hosmer would likely have pedestrian numbers. However, as the season has progressed he has shown steady improvement in average and on-base percentage. In fact hewas the third best offensive first baseman in the AL in June.
Two bad months and three decent ones. Is it enough? No. Is it something that might leave a bit of hope that things will turn around for young Hosmer? Sure. Does any of that provide some solace for yet another pitiful year of Royals baseball? Not in the least.
Royals fans have been waiting for the arrival of Moustakas and Hosmer to lift this team into previously unknown offensive heights. We've put too high of expectations on young players too soon. But we've seen other teams have breakout young stars and damnit if it isn't our turn. We suddenly find ourselves in the second year of their tenure and still the team is closer to last than first in runs scored.
In the end, Hosmer seems to be improving and making his way towards an average first baseman. It's something the Royals could really use and would be a nice return on a 1st round pick. Unfortunately, that's not enough. It's the lottery ticket that pays out $2 when we need the jackpot to pay the bills.
- Nick Scott