Oh, how the mighty have fallen. Okay, that might be a bit of an exaggeration. Eric Hosmer, once known as one of the top prospects in the Kansas City Royals organization, has seen his production fall ever since his spectacular rookie season.
In 2011, Hosmer’s rookie season, he hit for a .293/.334/.465 slash line. In 2012, the first baseman hit .232/.304/.359. This season, he is back to a more decent .266/.324/.347 line. His bad 2012 season can be blamed slightly on bad luck, with a poor .255 BABIP. However, his line-drive percentage was only at 18.5. This season, his BABIP is .312 and his line drive percentage is at 23.2, suggesting that at some point his numbers will improve.
His home-run-to-fly-ball ratio is startlingly low this season compared to his first two seasons. His first two seasons saw him put up 13.5 and 11.3 HR/FB ratios respectively. In 2013? His HR/FB ratio is only 5.3 percent, meaning he is only hitting 5.3 percent of his fly balls for home runs. Not only are less of his fly balls resulting in home runs, but he is also hitting far fewer fly balls in general. Only 18.4 percent of his balls put in play are fly balls. Suddenly the reason why Hosmer only has two home runs this season isn’t such a mystery.
Compared to 2012, Hosmer’s defense at first base has improved drastically. His UZR has improved from -12.8 in 2012 to 5.1 in 2013, while his UZR/150 improved from -14.9 to 12.0.
The Royals have been on an extended hot streak recently, and if they wish to continue their recent trend, Hosmer is going to eventually need to be a part of it. Hosmer is far too talented to continue his struggles. As much as I enjoy seeing their pitching dominate, I have my doubts that it can continue at it’s recent pace.