Being a Royal’s fan born after 1985 just isn’t very fun. They have basically never been watchable. We have seen stars come up in the system and then go when the team couldn’t afford them. We were then sold on “The Process” by new General Manager Dayton Moore. Finally, last year, signs of hope were finally seen. While Mike Moustakas couldn’t hit left handed pitching to save his life, Alcides Escobar is as anemic on offense as most back up catchers and Johnny Giovatella is as effective with the glove as 97% of Congress, positive signs existed. Escobar lead the league in several defensive metrics and definitely had the most “wow” plays. Moose showed some really solid power (even though I have never seen more 50 feet off foul balls), both Manny Pina and Salvador Perez showed incredible defensive catching skills and at least some pop at the plate. However, the man who gives us hope is Eric Hosmer. The Wizard of Hoz.
The kid is a physical specimen and a dedicated athlete of the highest order. The type of guy that the Royals never seem to acquire. The type of guy that got me to sit down and watch every single Royals game that was broadcast on Fox Sports Kansas City. I’ve always been primarily a basketball and football type of guy, mainly because the Royals were always awful. Something was different about Hosmer. The way he walks up to the play, the way he stares down the pitcher. Even if he only finished 3rd in the AL Rookie Of The Year voting, I will always remember 2011 as the year that got me reinterested in baseball.
None of this is to say that he is already perfect as a ball player. Most defensive metrics show that he was actually a horrendous defensive first basemen. Many scouts agree that this is as a result of his positioning, so it is something that is fixable. His 19 homeruns last year was good, but if he is going to be the type of impact player the Royals need, he needs to be hitting around 30. The 11 stolen bases were very nice, showing the potential to possibly become a 30-30 guy. As a rookie, his Offensive WAR was 2.3 (his defensive WAR is another story); if he just doubles that number, he qualifies as a superstar. However, his largest flaw is that he simply just does not walk. The guys over at Royals Review recently wrote an article covering his woes (http://www.royalsreview.com/2012/1/26/2732992/will-hosmers-walk-rate-limit-his-upside). This is the area he most needs to work on. Recognize the off speed stuff and don’t chase in the dirt. Simple, but certainly not easy.
So, yeah, Royals fans. Be optimistic. Finally, the franchise has given us reason to believe in their positive words. All of the young guys, in addition to some significant upgrades made in the pitching rotation and bullpen (especially if they sign Edwin Jackson), and The Hoz…there is something there. The AL Central is a miserable division. The Prince Fielder signing may lead people to believe that The Tigers are a juggernaut but with his defense and going from the AL to the NL, it may not be as big of a difference as people believe. In short…Go Big Blue!