Fire up the Rookie of the Year campaign. Here comes Eric Hosmer.
A scorching September has, or rather, should, put Hosmer back in the ROY discussion, especially among the position player candidates. As the season plays out and baseball writers across the country look for something to write about, Hosmer is likely to emerge as good copy, especially if the Royals continue to play well in the season's dying days. Heck, Buster Olney already has done so.
On August 30, Hosmer had a season line of .274/.324/.424, which was good for his low OPS point of the season at .747. That performance was ok, and given Hosmer's pedigree and youth, not bad. Not thrilling either, but hey, he's young. On September 22nd, the first baseman wakes up with a .300/.343/.474 line.
|2011 - Eric Hosmer||121||494||64||148||26||3||18||75||34||73||11||5||.300||.343||.474|
Hosmer improved his season line that much, that quickly, thanks to an insane 85 PAs. Since August 30, The Hos has hit 432/.447/.728, padding his traditional stats totals with 6 home runs. And of course, he went 5-5 last night, pushing everything up just that little extra bit.
Here are the wOBA leaders among AL rookies:
- Lawrie: .414 (171 PAs)
- Jennings: .389 (245 PAs)
- Carp: .361 (280 PAs)
- Hosmer: .351 (533 PAs)
- Ackley: .348 (342 PAs)
Hosmer has played much more than any of his peers and I think that matters. It matters from a value standpoint and from a perception one as well. The advanced stats hate his defense and positionally he loses value as well, but I don't know if that's enough to make up the difference. Especially since the scouts think he's actually good at first (right?). Ackley ackually leads AL Rookie hitters in WAR at 2.7, but I don't get the sense that he's a viable candidate. He's already right in line for the Chase Utley Being Overlooked Career Path.
That leaves Trumbo. The Angel hasn't actually been that good, which is why despite 29 HRs he has just a .334 wOBA. Trumbo's .258 BA will hurt him amongst traditional voters and his .297 OBP should kill him with anyone more advanced. He's an older guy who has played a full season and has 29 HRs.
Unlike Mike Aviles's insurgent candidacy in 2008, Hosmer is a very traditional candidate. He was famous before he made his debut, he's an established regular already, he plays first base and he's (at this point) basically an all offense player. Voting for Mike Aviles was more or less a "hey, this is random but he was really good" vote, wheras Hosmer stands out as a coronation option, he's the face of a young team that industry wonks want to get on record as validating.
The primary competition for these position players will be Michael Pineda, who recieved a tremendous amont of hype in April and May. The Pineda buzz has fallen off quite a bit, and his 9-10 record for a bad team doesn't help. Pineda, from a straight WAR perspective probably should win AL ROY, as no one is really close to his 3.3 WAR. Hosmer certainly isn't.
However, there is increasing reason to vote for Hosmer for the soft factors listed above. And honestly, if you look past (whether justified or not) his horrible UZR numbers, he's a strong candidate performance-wise. Rookie of the Year is something of a silly award and it seems to primarily be one in April and September. Pineda won April, Hosmer is winning September.