Is it possible that the most polished major league hitter in the Royals’ lineup is a 21 year old rookie who has played in just 24 career games? Is that a plus for Eric Hosmer or an indictment of the rest of the Kansas City batting order?
I am in a glass half full sort of mood this morning. The Royals have righted the ship by taking two straight from the Angels, Billy Butler hit a home run, Alex Gordon has rebounded, Alcides Escobar continues to make play after play…heck, even Chris Getz has not annoyed me for three or four days! As such, I tend to believe that Hosmer is simply that good.
At last, perhaps, after suffering through the debuts of Kila Ka’aihue and Alex Gordon, to name just a couple, maybe the vision of a prospect coming up and, you know, actually hitting is so unique that it really, really stands out. Enough so that I decided to see what some past homegrown Royals did in their first 25 games:
- Eric Hosmer – .291/.327/.515/.842, 6 doubles, 5 homers, 17 RBI
- Alex Gordon – .167/.314/.286/.599, 4 doubles, 2 homers, 5 RBI
- Billy Butler – .286/.315/.452/.767, 5 doubles, 3 homers, 14 RBI
- Carlos Beltran – .300/.325/.455/.779, 6 doubles, 3 homers, 16 RBI
- Johnny Damon – .330/.391/.534/.925, 7 doubles, 2 homers, 15 RBI
- Mike Sweeney – .250/.369/.353/.722, 4 doubles, 1 homer, 10 RBI
- Bo Jackson – .207/.286/.329/.615, 2 doubles, 2 homers, 9 RBI
- George Brett – .216/.244/.338/.581, 6 doubles, 1 homer, 9 RBI
I took some liberties with the above; ignoring the sporadic playing time of the September call-ups of Beltran, Sweeney and Brett in their actual major league debuts, but using Bo’s September as he played basically everyday in the fall of 1986. Also worth noting is that Johnny Damon also smacked 4 triples in his first 25 games – not sure if you remember, but Damon could really play.
I thought about pulling up the numbers of some of the once ‘sure-things’ that parlayed a good start or even a good rookie season into dismal failure. However, looking back at Bob Hamelin, Mark Quinn and Angel Berroa runs counter to the ‘glass half full’ frame of mind we are using today.
Twenty-five games does not a career or, even a season make. That said, Eric Hosmer is off to a better start than most of the other big Royals’ prospects of the past. Yes, Mike Sweeney was not a big prospect when he came up, but I thought it was relevant to include him.
Some other quick notes:
Felipe Paulino has been fantastic for the Royals in his first two outings (9.1 IP, 0 runs, 0 walks). Keep in mind, for those of you who think Bob McClure may have made some magical tweak, that Paulino had a stretch of 36 innings where he allowed just 7 runs just one year ago. Obviously, you have to like what you have seen thus far out of the newly acquired pitcher, but the jury is still out on whether the can maintain it.
Baseball America is projecting the Royals will pick UCLA pitcher Gerrit Cole with the number five pick on Monday. I think that would be a great pick should he fall that far, with the theory being that Cole could make the majors as early as 2013. While Bubba Starling would be a pick popular with the locals, he is three to four years away from the majors, the smart money would be to take the best college arm available…or Dylan Bundy. Bundy is the high school pitcher from Oklahoma, who is more advanced than your usual high school arm. Chances are that he will not even be there when the Royals’ turn comes, but he would also be fantastic pick.
In addition to a Homser coming up and having early success, something else new and unusual is happening for the Royals: they have a prospect close to major league ready who is legitimatelyblocked by a player at the major league level. We are all anticipating the arrival of Mike Moustakas, but what do you do with Wilson Betemit? You know, the Betemit that is hitting .306/.370/.438. The very same one who in 127 games with the Royals has a line of .300/.375/.484. That is a nice problem to have and one that is unique in the recent history of Kansas City.