The Kansas City Royals are trying to turn around their franchise, from the bottom up.  They are asking their fans to be patient as they try to get the talent in the minor leagues to build from within.  Slowly but surely, we’re seeing positive signs.

We’ve talked about Mike Moustakas (he’s a part of our Prospect Tracker, so click here to find the latest update)

We’ve talked about Will Myers (he is also part of our Prospect Tracker, as well as being featured in a Prospect Report, which you can read by clicking here)

And then there is Eric Hosmer.

Drafted in the first round of the 2008 draft, Hosmer is making quick work of the minor leagues.  He spent his first 87 games at Single-A, hitting .357 with 7 HR, 51 RBI, 48 R and 11 SB.  Since then he was promoted to Double-A, where he has continued to rake:

133 At Bats
.301 Batting Average (40 Hits)
9 Home Runs
22 RBI
26 Runs
3 Stolen Bases
.354 On Base Percentage
.602 Slugging Percentage
.292 Batting Average on Balls in Play

The first thing that jumps out at you is the HR/SLG.  Given the home run total he showed prior to his promotion, as well as in 2008 (6 HR in 377 AB), it’s safe to say that his power outburst is a bit of an aberration.

That’s not to say that the power is impossible.  Hosmer has the potential to post a big power number, as Baseball America pointed out prior to the season, when they ranked him as the fifth best prospect in the Royals system:

“Hosmer’s outstanding raw power is still apparent in batting practice, even if it seemed absent in games last year. His balanced swing is pure enough that he should hit for average as well.”

Strikeouts, which were a problem last year (23.9%), have been nearly nonexistent this year.  In 458 total at bats, he has struck out just 57 times (12.5%).  Baseball America noted that he had lasik surgery this offseason, which certainly could help to explain the huge turnaround.  If he can continue making contact, good things will happen.

At this point, it’s hard to say that the bat will definitely translate to the Major Leagues, but you have to like the 180 he’s done this season.  The numbers are much more suitable to the hype, which certainly has helped make fantasy owners take notice.

One problem will be where he plays, with Billy Butler and Kila Ka’aihue currently manning 1B and DH.  Then again, the team has not shown much faith in Ka’aihue until now, so you have to think that playing time won’t be an issue once he’s ready.

Since the problems they’ve had in the past with Alex Gordon, you know the Royals will remain patient with their prospects.  Chances are, Hosmer opens the season at Triple-A in 2011, but could reach the Majors by mid-year.

Keep him on your radar, because once he reaches the bigs, he will be a must own option.

What are your thoughts of Hosmer?  Can he be a must use option in 2011 or do you think he will be another bust?

Make sure to check out some of our Prospect Reports:


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