It was one of the more anticipated promotions that we were waiting for this season, but nobody expected it to come quite this early. The Kansas City Royals called up their top prospect and unanimous top 10 minor league player, Eric Hosmer, on Thursday, sending the struggling Kila Ka'aihue to AAA Omaha.
Hosmer is probably the most polished hitter in the minor leagues, blending great contact with impressive natural power. The Royals are showing that they desperately want to capitalize on their hot start to the 2011 season and are willing to do what it takes to stay in contention.
Adding Eric Hosmer to your fantasy team just might keep you in contention all season as well. But before you click the "ADD" button, let's take a deeper look at all that this talented first baseman has to offer.
Height: 6'4" Weight: 220 lbs — Hits: Left Throws: Left
Current Stats (AAA Omaha): .439/.525/.582, 3 HR, 15 RBI, 21 runs, 3 steals
Scouting Report—One of, if not the, most sound hitters in the minor leagues. Hosmer is an artist at the plate, using a fundamental up-the-middle approach but setting up pitchers in order to give him exactly what he wants in each at-bat. He has the plate discipline of a hitter with twice his experience and understands how the pitcher is trying to attack him.
Which MLB prospect will hit the most HR in 2011?
Hosmer feeds off of pitches over and just off the outer portion of the plate, either ripping them up the middle or sending them to the left-center field gap. His lack of power numbers is somewhat a mirage as he is learning to turn and drive on more fastballs instead of settling for clean line drives. He is a big kid who will develop power as he further matures as a hitter.
Hosmer has worked hard to improve his defense at first base and he has even toiled around in the outfield and could hold down an outfield corner if pressed into duty.
Though he has slightly below-average speed, Hosmer isn't afraid to steal a base when the pitcher isn't paying attention to him.
He is going to have to come up with a better plan to handle inside fastballs from major league pitching, but that is where his work ethic and drive will pay off the most.
This kid is a winner and the exact type of personality the Royals need in their clubhouse.
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2011 Analysis—Hosmer hasn't cooled off since March of 2010. Every stop along the way he has hit for a good average, blossoming power and great run production. Initially, he will likely have some success with the big league ballclub as opposing starters don't have much scouting on him. But, eventually they will learn to bust him in with higher velocity cut fastballs, at which time Hosmer will have to start turning on the ball more effectively.
His power potential is almost directly related to solving this approach and thus is very difficult to predict at this time. He should be picked up off waivers in most 12 team leagues as the upside here is too great to pass on unless loaded at the corner infield positions.
Ride him out while he is hot, but don't be afraid to bench him once his bat cools because there is no telling how long his adjustment periods will last. I wouldn't be surprised to see double-digit home runs and stolen bases out of Hosmer the rest of the season.
Compare To—Joey Votto, Brett Wallace, Will Clark
Jeff Mans is a co-host of The Fantasy Alarm Show on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio, the Senior Writer at Fantasy Alarm and a contributor to Bleacher Report.