Eric Hosmer has removed any doubt that he will be the starting first baseman for the Kansas City Royal in 2012, by having a great spring after finishing third in AL Rookie of the Year Award voting in 2011. He finished behind Jeremy Hellickson and Mark Trumbo in the voting.
Hosmer batted .293 last season while hitting 19 home runs and driving in 78 runs in only 128 games. He has taken up where he left off in spring training with 26 RBI which leads all major leaguers, which is seven more than Luke Hughes and Delmon Young, who each have driven in 19 runs this spring.
Leads in Hits With 28
His 28 hits leads the majors this spring, with Brandon Belt and Lorenzo Cain next with 24 each. His five home runs are second best this spring, while his 16 runs scored tie him with Cain as the leaders this spring. His .418 batting average is fifth, while his .468 OBP is eighth in the majors. His .746 slugging percentage is fourth behind Cain, Young and Albert Pujols, while his OPS of 1.214 ties him with Alex Liddi and Albert Pujols for second this spring behind Cain.
He also leads the majors this spring with 50 total bases and his 12 extra base hits are third this spring.
3rd Overall Pick in 2008 Draft
Hosmer was drafted as third pick in the first round of the 2008 amateur draft, with Tim Beckham and Pedro Alvarez drafted ahead of him, but Beckham still has not played in a major league game.
The 6 foot 4 Hosmer who weighs 230 pounds was drafted out of American Heritage High School in Plantation, Florida. He will be 22 all of the 2012 season. It impressive that he accomplished so much in his first major league season at the age of 21.
There is talk that Hosmer will be offered an extension to lock him up for a few years. It is a testament to his ability, that the Royals would even consider offering a 22-year-old an extension. He has .312 over four minor league seasons.
Baseball-reference.com lists Willie Mays and Eddie Murray as players who had similar stats to Hosmer at the age of 21.
Second Best Hitting Team
The Royals have one of the best hitting lineups in baseball this spring, with their. 301 batting average only one point behind the Angels at .302. Four Royals are in the top nine players in hits this spring with Hosmer’s 28, Lorenzo Cain 24, Alex Gordon 23 and Billy Butler with 22.
Royals pitching has not fared as well this spring with only Luis Mendoza with a 4-0 record and 0.54 ERA and Luke Hochevar at 3-1 and 2.84 ERA having pitched well among the starters. They have a combined record of 7-1 as starters, while the rest of the pitchers who have started this spring compiling a 3-5 record.
Eleven Royals Pitchers Allowing .400 Average
Eleven of the Royals pitchers have allowed opposing batters to hit .400 or higher against them this spring. Bruce Chen who is struggling this spring, posted 12-7 and 12-8 records in 2010 and 2011, so it is critical that he pitches better when the opening day comes around next week.
It is critical that the pitching improve with the Royals 29th this spring in opposing batting averages, allowing opponents to hit .305 this spring. Only the Indians are worse allowing batters to hit .309 against them.
Right now the question is if the hitters can out-hit their pitchers for the Royals in 2012. Losing Joaikim Soria makes the pitching situation even worse, with the bullpen having blown eight saves this spring.