Home > Uncategorized > Bruce Ch…Who Am I Kidding…It’s Hosmer Time

Bruce Ch…Who Am I Kidding…It’s Hosmer Time

I’ve struggled with what to write for today because nothing newsworthy has really happened with the Royals. I just can’t seem to think of anything that they did yesterday. Oh wait, that’s right. They called up the guy who might be the best player on the team by the end of the year and officially started the Eric Hosmer era. I will get into that, I promise, but until I heard the news of Hosmer’s promotion, I was planning to write a post about Bruce Chen. Hopefully this isn’t his last good game of the year because I will write an article about him at some point, but I want to be sure to say a couple of things about him before I get into the real news.

Chen has been a huge surprise to me. I did not expect him to have an ERA under four at any point after April. Yes, it’s still very early, but the fact that he’s pitching so well is a huge surprise to me. I know ERA isn’t the best indicator of talent, but so far so good for him. The only discouraging thing is that he’s outpitching his peripherals and leaving an inordinate number of men on base, so regression to the mean is a possibility for Chen. He outpitched his peripherals last year as well, and some pitchers just have a knack for that, so hopefully he’s figured something out and can continue to be a solid starter for the Royals throughout the whole season.

Bruce, I promise I’m going to write more about you at some point, but today belongs to Eric Hosmer who was just called up and should start tonight at first base against the Oakland Athletics. When I wrote yesterday about Hosmer coming up, I didn’t expect it to be that evening. He’s clearly ready for the Major Leagues, but I thought that the Royals would give him another month down there in order to see if he could get his power stroke going and if Kila Ka’aihue could get his power stroke going in the majors. Unfortunately for Ka’aihue, the Royals didn’t give him that chance. I’m not a fan of how the news was announced because there was a man in the clubhouse who had just been demoted while the media and players were celebrating the arrival of a new player. That’s great that everyone is so happy about Hosmer making it to the big leagues, but I did feel bad for Ka’aihue who had to endure celebration. It wasn’t about him, but he had to feel that it was at his expense.

The message this sends has been discussed all around the internet, and it means that the Royals think they have a legitimate shot to make a run at the playoffs this year. Not next year, this year. Otherwise, there is absolutely no reason to bring Hosmer up before the Super Two deadline where he wouldn’t go through arbitration four times. The Royals have determined that their time to win is right now, and Eric Hosmer makes them a better team. I have to say that I’m positively giddy that their mindset is that way because it’s nice to see that the organization believes in this team. I’d mentioned before that some of the currency the Royals have is in their prospects, and if they think they’re in it, we might see some trades to acquire a proven starter.

The other message that calling up Hosmer sends is that if you perform you will move up. The Royals had sent that message in the minors a few times, but situations like Kila Ka’aihue sitting at AAA for so long in spite of his fantastic numbers had to be a little disheartening for the prospects who thought they had to hit over .400 to get called up. Oh right, I guess this doesn’t change that notion considering Hosmer was hitting a ridiculous .439 in Omaha with an OBP of .525. I’ve mentioned the power isn’t quite there yet where we’d want it, but with his eye, he adds some serious value to a lineup even if he only hits 10 or 15 homers the rest of the way. I think his early promotion puts him as a front runner for the Jackie Robinson Award (Rookie of the Year), which I know makes Royals fans cringe a little bit, but winning awards is great for public perception.

There’s been a lot of talk about where he’ll hit, and the beauty of the current Royals team is that he doesn’t have to be a savior upon arrival. I think it was Nate Bukaty who asked Ned Yost in the press conference if that was a big deal and Yost said it wasn’t, and sort of dismissed the question. I think it’s a huge deal. Yes, Hosmer is probably going to get a standing ovation in his first at bat tonight. But the Royals still have the best scoring offense in the American League, both in total runs and runs per game. That’s amazing. I don’t remember ever being able to say that at any point beyond maybe the first five or six games of a season. With Ka’aihue’s poor production, the Royals have been able to average over 5.2 runs per game. Anything Hosmer provides is absolute gravy. Add in his defensive upgrade, and the Royals got better.

The one negative thing I feel that I have to say is to temper expectations a little bit. I’m not expecting .300/.400/.500 out of the gate, though I’d love that. I think we need to remember that the jump from AAA to the big leagues is huge and a lot of fantastic players have struggled out of the gate. I’m convinced that Hosmer will be the best hitter on the team, and he’ll get there pretty quickly, but it may not happen right away. I don’t want people to look at the scoreboard and see .262/.339/.412 in a few weeks and be heavily disappointed. He’ll get there eventually and be one of the best around, but right now he’s still a rookie who has about 120 plate appearances above AA. He’s been amazing in them, and I think he’ll be amazing in the big leagues, but I caution people about expecting too much right away.

Since I don’t want to end on that negative note, I want to end this with my prediction of what he’ll do the rest of the season. The Royals have 131 games to go, and I think he’ll play 125 of them. I think he’ll hit .291/.374/.485 which is plenty of production, and fantastic for a rookie. I see about 30 doubles and 15 homers from him with a couple of triples sprinkled in for good measure. He’s going to be good. The Hosmer Era begins tonight.

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