The Kansas City Royals are looking to turn things around in 2013 and make up some ground in the AL Central. To do so, they’ll need a big year out of a lot of key contributors, but maybe none more so than first baseman Eric Hosmer. Coming off a sophomore slump in 2012, the 23-year-old will bounce back this season and become a leader for this Royals lineup.
The Royals would like to see him get back to his impressive rookie form from 2011. That year, as a 21-year-old rookie, Hosmer hit .293/.334/.465 with 19 home runs and 78 RBI and looked as if the sky was the limit. His power potential was off the charts and looked to be mashing in the middle of the Royals’ lineup for the next decade.
But as often happens with young sluggers, Hosmer hit the wall in year two as opposing pitchers started to pick at his weaknesses. That led to a tailspin of sorts in 2012 where the young first baseman finished with a slash-line of just .232/.304/.359 to go along with 14 home runs and 60 RBI. Most troubling was the spike in ground balls hit, as 53.6 percent of the balls Hosmer put in play stayed on the ground, which is a bad sign for a young hitter who was supposed to grow into significant power production.
But Royals fans shouldn’t fret too much. Hosmer has all the tools to turn things around and internalize the lessons he learned from getting picked on by pitchers last season. Now that he knows how pitchers are going to approach him, he’ll be able to adjust thanks to his great hand-eye coordination, explosive hip torque and some of the strongest wrists and forearms in all of baseball.
The tools are all there and now that he’s been exposed to some of the tricks, he can really start to blossom. Look for him to be make a considerable impact in 2013 as he tries to push the Royals to their first winning season since 2003.