Monday, March 7, 2011

Might Eric Hosmer's Bat Force the Royals to Accelerate His Timetable for Arrival?

I really was intending to get to the next installment of the Equating Your Royals to a Character in The Wire series (first part here), but it would seem that Eric Hosmer's early performance in Spring Training is forcing me to do otherwise.

Since Royals fans have been eagerly waiting for the commencement of Spring Training games to get a glimpse of the future in the form of the cadre of highly rated prospects getting to face "Major League" talent in fake pseudo-ML action, Eric Hosmer's impressive week has a lot of us wondering if the future might be arriving sooner rather than later.

We all know that Mike Moustakas is set to make his Major League debut sometime in the beginning of June. That is supposed to be the beginning of a brighter future. The first glimpse of what may come. The first real glimmer of hope after 17 seasons of awe-inspiring futility.

Hosmer went with a casual look
FanFest Photo Courtesy of the Gracious Minda Haas
Conventional wisdom has had us all assuming that Moustakas would be arriving this June with Hosmer's arrival following almost exactly one year later, with the only caveat being that he might get a cup of coffee in the Bigs come September once the Omaha *gulp* Storm Chasers have completed their expected playoff run.

It is very possible that we have gotten ahead of ourselves--or perhaps, more precisely, behind ourselves, but I would argue that his otherworldly playoff performance just a few months ago may assert otherwise.

To say Eric Hosmer has been earning rave reviews might be an understatement. If you follow Jason Parks (co-host of the Baseball Prospectus podcast Up and In and writer at Baseball Prospectus and proprietor/author of the freshly launched Rangers prospect site Texas Farm Review) on Twitter, you know how Hosmer has looked. If you don't follow him (and why the hell aren't you?), let me do a quick rundown of what he's been saying:
  • Hosmer just sodomized the ball to RF. Long HR. Massive shot. - February 28th
  • Special hitters produce a sound off the bat that mere mortals can't match. Hosmer is one of those special hitters. It's a shotgun blast - March 5th
  • Hosmer is best young hitter I have ever seen in the cage; such an easy swing and remarkable bat speed. Best offensive prospect in baseball. - March 5th
  • Hosmer is extremely well-rounded, so yes; Harper has more power. RT @: @ better offensive prospect than Harper? - March 5th
  • Its close, but I'd take Hosmer. RT @: @ er hosmer > montero? - March 5th
  • In response to Rany's tweet: @ Stop it, Jason, just stop it. It's not healthy for me to have this much optimism. Jason said: @ Hosmer could start on the 25-man to start the season and more than hold his own. Remarkable young hitter. - March 5th
  • It sounds like pornography. RT @: @ Does Hosmer's swing sound more like a sawed off or barreled shotgun? - March 5th
  • [and finally...] I'm thinking of changing my twitter handle to @ or @-Hosmer or @. What do you think? - March 5th
If you want video of Hosmer taking batting practice, Jason Cole of Lone Star Dugout took some video of batting practice (more ST videos here), and it is pretty clear why Parks (Cole's ST-roommate) is so high on Hosmer, even just looking at BP.

Eric Hosmer takes batting practice from Jason Cole on Vimeo.

With the Royals having intimated months ago that there was a strong chance Hosmer would be starting the season in AAA and the effusive praise being heaped upon the young phenom based on his performance thus far, is it that unreasonable to expect that he may get the call when Moustakas does or shortly thereafter?

Obviously, the prudent thing for the organization is to have Hosmer coming a year behind Moustakas to stagger the arrival of their respective free agencies. Based on the early reports, Hosmer may force his way into the Majors a year sooner than we all assumed, bringing the future just a little bit closer. Maybe we are making too much out of an exceptionally small sample size, but it does seem like the possibility of this happening is getting less unimaginable as I continue typing.

Again, the advancement of Hosmer probably serves the club best if it is delayed until 2012, but he may simply be too good to keep down for that long.


Now, for a bit of fostering of community, you should really check out Corey Ettinger's latest two Royals Prospect Profiles for John Lamb and Mike Montgomery over at AL Central In Focus. Mike Engel confesses his own love for Eric Hosmer at Kings of Kauffman before advocating for the trade of the thrice-blocked Clint Robinson. Rany uses the example of Salvador Perez to offer a silver lining to Scott McKinney oft-discussed prospect attrition features at Royals Review. The presumably better connected Rustin Dodd at the KC Star thinks Hosmer will still spend nearly all of the year in the minors. And Will McDonald wonders how the Royals farm system was able to ascend to the top of the organizational rankings of Baseball America's after ending up only 17th heading into the 2010 season.

And I'd like to thank any and everyone who has linked to my articles in the last couple of weeks. The support is appreciated.


Corey Ettinger said...

As a scout, when you're looking at someone you want to see hit for consistent power, (besides the obvious hand/bat speed) you want a guy who does a good job hitting over his back knee. That's a good point of strength and allows a hitter to keep his weight back and help get lift and torque. You also want to see him get his ass all the way through, and his hips presented on contact.

Hosmer does these things brilliantly. His swing is simple, and easy to repeat without wasted motion. All of which helps to explain how he pairs his plus power with impressively low strikeout rates.

Josh "Old Man" Duggan said...

Yeah, I read your scouting reports today. Fantastic stuff. When I get my next post up, expect them to get linked up.