Eric Hosmer Gets the Call

The Royals went into the season stating that they were determined to see what Kila Ka’aihue could offer them as a regular first baseman, but it only took 96 plate appearances for them to come to the conclusion that Ka’aihue is no Eric Hosmer. Yesterday, they made the switch official, swapping the two between Triple-A and the majors, and Hosmer will take over at first base for the Royals this evening.

It’s easy to see why the Royals made this switch – Hosmer is killing Triple-A pitching, putting up a .502 wOBA to start the season, while Ka’aihue is struggling again at just a .282 mark. Hosmer is the future in Kansas City, and given how well he was hitting down in Omaha, it’s not hard to conclude that he’s the better player of the two right now as well.

That said, I do find it interesting how differently batting average is treated as a possessor of predictive power at the minor league level. Hosmer’s results are fantastic, but the basis of his batting line in Omaha is a .500 batting average on balls in play. Of his 43 hits, only eight of them have gone for extra bases, the kind of total you’d expect from a leadoff hitter, not a slugging first base prospect. I’m sure Hosmer is hitting the ball hard, but I’d also suggest that he’s also a bit fortunate in how many of his balls are finding holes – you don’t rack up 35 singles in a month without a decent amount of luck, no matter how hard you’re hitting the ball.

If a guy posted a .500 BABIP in the majors in April, I don’t think we’d be rushing to change our evaluation of his skills. But if a top prospect puts up a BABIP inflated line in the minors, it’s usually taken as a sign that the player is too good for his level and is ready for a promotion. In reality, though, these high BABIPs from the minors rarely carry over to the big leagues.

Freddie Freeman – a similar prospect to Hosmer, if not quite as well regarded – is going through this adjustment right now. After hitting .319/.378/.518 as a 20-year-old in Triple-A last year, he’s scuffled to a .214/.301/.365 line in the majors. His walk rate, strikeout rate, and ISO are all about what you’d expect based on his minor league totals, but his BABIP in the majors is just .242, way down from the .351 mark he put up in Triple-A last year.

Howie Kendrick, Chris Davis, Cameron Maybin, and even Kansas City’s own Alex Gordon have climbed the minor league ladder by posting high averages based on BABIPs near .400 throughout their minor league career, and yet none of them have been able to carry that over to the Major Leagues. Last year, top prospect Domonic Brown posted a .395 BABIP in Triple-A and got himself promoted to Philadelphia, where he was promptly exposed by Major League pitchers.

Even Buster Posey, who did not flop when he got to the big leagues, has seen his BABIP come falling down in the majors – he’s at .302 for his career after putting up a .386 mark in Triple-A last year and hovering in the .350 range in the year prior. My guess is that Hosmer is much more like Posey than he is the guys above who struggled to adjust to big league pitching, as Hosmer is showing terrific plate discipline and has more power than guys like Kendrick or Maybin. I’m not arguing that Hosmer is a bust waiting to happen, or that he’s going to flop upon arriving in Kansas City. He’s obviously one of the best prospects in baseball, and everything points to him having a good career as a high quality hitter.

I just wonder why so much credit is given to batting average at the minor league level as an indicator of when a prospect is ready. We know how flukey the number can be, and when you factor in low quality playing fields, a lot of poor defenders, and pitchers that aren’t usually throwing Major League stuff for strikes, it’s easy to see why there are so many high BABIP performances in the minors. The problem comes when people raise their expectations to unreasonable levels based on a guy hitting .400 in Triple-A for a month or two.

Hosmer is probably Major League ready. He’s probably going to be a good player for a long time. The Royals probably made the right call in promoting him now. None of this is a critique of the move, or the Royals handling of Hosmer this year. I will, however, suggest that we shouldn’t view it as a disappointment if Hosmer’s batting line in 2011 ends up looking something like Posey’s career mark to date – .288/.341/.468, which would represent a really nice rookie performance, and should be viewed as an accomplishment, not a disappointment, even with his staggering numbers in Omaha.




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Dave is a co-founder of USSMariner.com and contributes to the Wall Street Journal.


84 Responses to “Eric Hosmer Gets the Call”

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  1. geo says:

    I wouldn’t be disappointed at all if Hosmer’s batting line this year looks like Posey’s – I’d be thrilled. That’s fantastic for a 21 year old.

    Another encouraging sign is his line against lefties: .500/.568/.813, with all three home runs against southpaws. And he had little trouble with lefties last year as well.

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  2. MJ in PDX says:

    I am not sure that Dayton Moore understands BABIP, though. You do make a some good points and though we will watch Hosmer thrill, we will also watch him take some lumps.

    Here’s to the beginning of reaping the rewards of The Process.

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  3. Jimmy the Greek says:

    Freeman’s inevitable struggles are one of the reasons it was probably dumb to pick the Braves to be better than the Phillies.

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    • bsally says:

      The Braves still have a better lineup than the Phillies. Freddie Freeman was not going to make or break that team.

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      • Nik says:

        I think that’s very debatable. Especially once Utley is back in a few weeks.

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      • Jimmy the Greek says:

        Phils without Utley scoring more runs/game. Phillies also have the better rotation and team defense.

        Good try, though.

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      • Shawn384 says:

        You must be a Georgia native. The Phillies are off to a better start than any of the previous 5 years, without Utley.

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      • Ryan says:

        In 2010:

        Phillies wRC+ 99
        Braves wRC+ 101

        In 2011, the Phillies lost Werth and the Braves added Uggla. The Braves have better hitters. Period.

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      • yogi says:

        Automatic -1 for any post that ends with “Good try, though.” and “Period”.

        Please keep you juvenile fan-vs.-fan posts to another site.

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      • Matt says:

        Shawn, you do realize that the Phillies have played about 60% of their games at home, and that the out of division teams they’ve played so far are the Astros, Brewers, Padres, and Diamondbacks, right?

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      • CBurk says:

        2011 Phillies .265/.334/.393 wOBA: .325
        2011 Braves .240/.309/.387 wOBA: .305

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      • Jeff M. says:

        Any Phillies fan arguing that their lineup featuring a timeshare between Wilson Valdez and Pete Orr and the corpse of Raul Ibanez is somehow better than the Braves’ lineup is completely and utterly delusional.

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      • mike says:

        2011=/= 2010 + roster changes

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    • neuter_your_dogma says:

      Pick wasn’t “dumb,” as it was supported by some good arguments and data. Braves’ position players are slumping badly, however. Halladay’s WAR = entire Braves’ lineup.

      Oh, the topic was the Royals…

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      • geo says:

        Why is a Phillies / Braves argument dominating the comments section in a post about Eric Hosmer?

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      • CBurk says:

        Because this is a cool community of thoughtful baseball fans that use the posts to venture into other interesting topics?

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    • CBurk says:

      I think the Braves pick was an example of when writers make a point about a team through their picks. The Phils staff is clearly superior they’ve won the division for four straight years. The facts that the offense got weaker and their studs are regressing make the difference between the Phillies and Braves closer than people think, but the Phillies had (and certainly now have) better odds of winning the division than the Braves. I bet that if writers had to bet one team straight up against the other this year, it would have been Phillies in a landslide.

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  4. Dustin says:

    I think players with that type of talent need to be exposed to the highest level of competition in order to take the final steps. Sitting in AAA waiting for BABIP regression isn’t going to help refine his already great pitch recognition. Racking up 200 or 300 more PA’s to work on launching more fly balls against the Brett Cecils and Kevin Mulvey’s of the PCL isn’t going to do anything to answer the questions about his ability to hit for more power.

    Sometimes you’ve got to let a guy find out what adjustments he needs to make, and getting pitched around in AAA isn’t the place for that. Service time issues or not, if the Royals want to compete with their youth over the next 3-5 years, this is the right move, and with the AL Central being terrible, perhaps Hosmer hits well enough to help keep the Royals in contention deep into the summer.

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  5. Phillie697 says:

    I think your critique of teams using minor league BABIP, while certainly interesting, is not really well-argued. We all know hitters do have abilities to affect their BABIP to a degree, so by that logic, inferior competition will tend to raise a batter’s BABIP. So using BABIP as one indicator that a hitter is major-league ready is not all that ill-founded. The fact that those BABIP don’t usually carry over to the majors is not really evidence in the contrary… Once the hitter is no longer facing inferior competition, of course his BABIP is going to go down. Unfortunately we don’t have minor league stats for things like LD%, so we can’t really tell for sure what is driving Hosmer’s ridiculous BABIP, or any other prospect’s high BABIP, in the minors, but I don’t think the fact that their BABIP drops, sometimes even to league average, is solid enough evidence that BABIP is not a great predictor of whether a player is major-league ready. More analysis would be needed to refute that practice.

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    • Phillie697 says:

      I meant to say “not solid enough evidence.”

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    • hennethannun says:

      ^that

      The one piece of evidence doesn’t support the stated conclusion. All it really suggests to me is that we need more advanced statistics from minor league games before trying to interpret BABIP numbers.

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      • Phillie697 says:

        That’s exactly my point :)

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      • Jon says:

        I thought part of his point was that Hosmer isn’t hitting for power? His AAA ISO for 2011 is .143 — which is the number posted by Kelly Johnson in the Majors, and one point better than Freddie Freeman.

        Does ISO not translate from minors to majors? Or have little predictive power generally? It seems fair to say, prima facie, that a .400 BABIP is more likely to be sustained if a lot of those hits are going for extra bases, rather than singles (which are more likely to result from ‘lucky’ seeing eye grounders, inferior defense, etc). The LD data from Jeff Zimmerman below also supports this interpretation.

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    • Jeff Zimmerman says:

      There is information on minor league LD% and GB%

      http://firstinning.com/players/Eric-Hosmer-a

      50% GB rate
      19% LD rate

      Those numbers are right in line with the current Royal All Star, Chris Getz:
      LD% = 18.8 %
      GB% = 50.6 %

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  6. Jim says:

    Am I the only one who thinks all this Royals hype is going to look laughable 5 years from now?

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    • EspeciallyK says:

      Yes you are likely the only one.

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    • B says:

      Yes

      They have a ton of great prospects coming up, even if half of them fail. They’re still moving towards a good future.

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      • Matt says:

        What B said for sure. I mean, the last time people were this jazzed about a farm system it was the Diamondbacks, and look, oh, wait, I guess that isn’t the best example.

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      • pealsup says:

        Matt-You fail to take into account that the Diamondbacks also traded away many of those prospects that turned out to be real studs. Carlos Gonzalez and Brett Anderson, for examples. If they’d kept those prospects, they’d be in a lot better shape than they are now.

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      • shthar says:

        ALL of them will fail or sign with another team after being traded away for crap.

        Welcome to Wal-Mart’s team!

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    • Anon says:

      When like 1 or 2 of their prospects has any impact at the ML level? No, you won’t be the only one. But the people more obsessed with farm systems than ML success will find all sorts of excuses, no doubt.

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      • EspeciallyK says:

        I don’t recall too many people, if any, claiming the greatness of the Royals farm system guaranteed any amount of success at the ML level. I don’t recall anyone saying the Royals were the favorites in the AL Central for any given year in the future. Maybe I missed it though.

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    • Phillie697 says:

      Come on guys, we all know Jim is a die-hard Royals fan. They are the only ones who can be so jaded and pessimistic about the Royals.

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  7. Telo says:

    I’m sure Hosmer will stick and hit the ball well – his contact and discipline seem outstanding at this point in his development. The real question is his ISO. I think his 50th percentile year from here on out is 280/345/420. He has a lot of time to develop pop, but I just don’t think it really exists yet. I think the Posey line of 288/.341/.468 is optimistic.

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    • sorbil says:

      Tend to agree. His average is inflated by about 120 points right now even assuming a very optimistic BABIP. His current LD rate is only average (18%), so right now he looks like a high contact GB hitter with about a .300 avg (assuming no significant backslide in majors, which could easily happen) and a .400+ SLG.

      He did show intriguing power potential for half season upon his promotion to AA last season, with his HR/BIA leaping from low single digits to over 14%. However, he had 1.5 years at the prior level of the minors before this promotion and we are again not seeing this power at all at AAA so far.

      He could be a decent top of the order guy if he can keep his BB rate up even without much power, but most experience some significant loss in both SO and BB rates when jumping so quickly. However, I have noticed that some of these guys with excellent BB/SO ratios seem to have more early success. Short term, however, think his upside is fairly limited

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    • EspeciallyK says:

      Had an ISO of .233 last year as a 20 year old between A/AA…with the A-ball games coming in a huge pitcher’s park/environment. He won’t hit for huge power right away…but to say the power doesn’t exist yet might be going a bit far. I’m looking for a .280/.340/.450 line from him. Would be surprised at anything better…wouldn’t be surprised with worse obviously. I

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    • CBurk says:

      Where are you getting minor league line drive percentages? I was looking at Jesus Montero’s stats this morning and noticed he’s been posting huge BABIP numbers. This year is especially interesting as his BB% has plummeted from the 7-9 range to 2.3% while his OBP actually has increased (.448 BABIP).

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  8. Shawn384 says:

    So are we hyping Hosmer just to find out he is James Loney? Or is he the next big thing?

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    • The Usual SusBeck says:

      This is the first comp that came to mind when I looked at his stats again after reading an article filled with hype and mistook him for moustakas again.

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    • Telo says:

      I tend to agree that Loney is a pretty sensible comp, as the low outcome. He certainly has tons more upside and pop potential.

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      • hennethannun says:

        I don’t buy the Loney comparison. Loney never had more than 11 HR in any full minor or partial minor league season, Hosmer hit 20 overall last seson (and yes NW Arkansas is a hitters park, but Wilmington is serious pitchers park). He also hit 43 doubles and 9 triples. So of his 176 hits across 2 levels, 72 of them went for extra bases. On top of that, Loney hasn’t had a K/BB below 1 since rookie ball. His best minor league year was 34K/32BB in 404 PAs in AAA in 2006 at the age of 22. Hosmer’s got better control of the strike zone than that. he’s already walked 19 times in AAA in just 118 PAs.

        Loney might be a reasonable ‘floor’ projection, but hosmer seems to have a lot more upside, both in terms of power potential and ability to walk consistently without striking out too much to hit .300 consistently

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      • Colin says:

        I actually buy Loney as the low here. Though I think low is very low probability indeed. I think his middle might be that of his teammate Billy Butler, excellent contact hitter with only mild home run power.

        I am pretty optimistic about Hosmer, I think absolute best case scenario is a left handed Miguel Cabrera.

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  9. philosofool says:

    I think teams are under estimating the value of experience in player development. Waiting on AA and A off speed stuff and crushing fastablls is a great way to look good on paper, but a lot of recent young players who’ve killed the minors seem to stuggle at the highest level, and they struggle against secondary pitches. It’s Ka’aihue’s problem, and it’s been a problem for several other guys mentioned here.

    Many players would benefit from some time against more advanced pitching to learn how you hit something besides a “straight ball” (as they called it in 1910).

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    • CircleChange11 says:

      pf,

      Do more young players struggle now versus the ones 20 years ago?

      I would say the difference between AA and MLB pitchers is the QUALITY of their secondary pitches (and not so much velocity, etc), so why would a ML-potential player stay in AA learning to hit a quality of secondary pitches that he will not see at the ML level?

      The reason why guys rake in AA and not in MLB has to do with the difference in pitching quality between AA and ML, and the counter is likely true. Pitchers kill in AA but struggle in MLB.

      It also depends on the individual. Kila may need more time in AA, Hosmer may not need any more.

      My consistent opinion on the matter is “there’s only one way to find out”.

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  10. CircleChange11 says:

    Well, that answers my pre-season question of which 2 of the 3 (Kila, Hosmer, Butler) get to be the 1B and DH.

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    • Choo says:

      Thus, officially closing the book on what future generations of baseball historians will affectionately refer to as “the Mike Jacobs years.”

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  11. Jack says:

    I think using BABIP in minors is not really good indicator of the hitter. K/BB ratio, LD%, to breaking down what pitch he struggle against are better indicators. The guy’s racking in minors, so BABIP would be high (look at Gordon and Ethier’s streak). I view Posey’s line as a base and Braun’s line as ceiling. Hosmer should fall somewhere in between, comments?

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    • JohnnyComeLately says:

      Do you think he’d be more MLB ready if he was breaking instead of racking? I’m not sure what his billiards prowess has to do with his hitting prowess, but it might be an interesting study.

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  12. Babip Avengers says:

    Dave, you seem to be saying that batting average played a roll in calling up the Hoz, and you also make a more general claim about minor league batting average being used as predictive for major league performance. But I’m a little unclear on who is making these claims, or what your evidence is for your own claim. Every article I’ve read about this kid shows his triple slash line (except this one!), which is pretty damn impressive, anyway you slice it. How are we to know that it wasn’t his OBP, or SLG, or even some other qualitative aspect of his game that spurred the Royals to call him up? In other words, what is leading you to think it was his BA?

    On a more general note – and perhaps more to the thrust of your article here – who is using minor league BA as predictive of major league performance? Sure, it’s widely quoted, but I’ve not encountered arguments or analysis linking the two explicitly, or for that matter, implicitly. I’m not really doubting you, I’m genuinely interested in where this kind of analysis is taking place.

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    • isavage30 says:

      It’s also possible that unlike Kila, Hosmer’s actually capable of fielding a throw that bounces in the dirt, and that played a part in their decision to call Hosmer up. I would agree this isn’t the best spot for a minor league BA/BABIP discussion, since I’m sure the Royals don’t expect Hosmer to hit .430 in the majors. The guy has 19 BB and 16 K on the year. That’s also pretty good. And as much as this has to do with Hosmer, I’m sure it also has to do with Kila’s performance. Sure, Kila’s offense might improve if he’s given more time to show something, but I’m guessing the defense is always going to be inadequate.

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    • kcforlife says:

      um…Ned Yost and Dayton Moore are using BA to justify bringing him up to MLB. Want direct quotes from the KC website:

      “He’s ready, it’s as simple as that,” Yost said. “The kid’s hitting .440 and he’s ready to come up.”

      “He takes his walks and gets himself in good counts. Power is something that comes as players mature, and his swing is through the middle of the field. That’s where his approach is, and that’s why he’s hitting high for average,” Moore said.

      I suppose the quote by Moore is a little better because it emphasizes that they think his approach is solid enough that there is nothing more to learn at AAA.

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      • Babip Avengers says:

        Thanks. Citing BA as an indicator that he might be ready does seem to be different than citing BA as predictive of future performance. Perhaps that’s just splitting hairs.

        I think it’s obvious that people will reference his BA when discussing his readiness, but I still struggle to see who is using minor league BA as the go-to stat to evaluate minor leaguers.

        Again, thanks for pointing that out, perhaps that’s what motivated Dave’s article.

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      • pealsup says:

        Yeah, I think what Moore says is spot on. It’s not just that he’s hitting for a high average that they called him up, it’s WHY he’s hitting for that high of an average. Just like Billy Butler, his power will develop as he matures. Until then, we’ll still enjoy one damn good hitter!

        FYI, my comp would be Billy Butler with a glove.

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    • geo says:

      Maybe because Ned Yost said “he’s hitting .440, he’s ready.”

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    • Phillie697 says:

      @Avengers, yeah well there is a flaw in triple slash lines… BABIP affects ALL three of those triple slash numbers; an artificially high BABIP leads to better average, allows the batter to get on base more, and raises SLG by the same amount. There is reason to worry about Hosmer… Look at his ISO. Take away that high BABIP, he’s not really THAT impressive.

      While I disagree with the conclusory way the author makes his point, he’s not totally wrong.

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      • Babip Avengers says:

        Oh, yeah, I mean, I fully agree that triple slash lines are flawed, and are impacted by BABIP; and of course I think there are more savvy or insightful ways to analyze minor league batting performance. Dave just made it sound like every smart baseball analyst in the world went brain dead and started talking about minor league BA as the best stat to analyze minor league performance. I really just wanted to know where he was seeing that kind of analysis – and I use analysis here juxtaposed (what’s up freshman year English class!) to rhetoric. I kind of take it as a given that GMs will talk about BA as if it means something. But I kind of doubt that they actually think that. Of course, my mistrust of the GM could come from years of following Amaro, who is a notorious lier.

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  13. CBS projects .2665/.3438/.4562, just a tad worse than Posey’s .288/.341/.468.

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  14. neboguy says:

    Sorry all you prospects lovers, Hosmer will struggle, guarantee it. He has a chance to be a star because of his bat speed and pitch recognition, but who doesn’t possess that in the majors (besides a hand full of all or nothing guys). He needs to develop power. Set your expectations to Justin Smoak of last year. He will struggle in his first cup of tea in the majors. Not to mention he was playing his first year of AAA in the PCL this year. I say he hits .240 with 4 HRs and 29RBI before he gets sent down again, or if the Royals decide to stick with him, a .250 10HR, 60RBI season is not out of the qusetion.

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    • geo says:

      And you’re basing this on what?

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      • neboguy says:

        Hosmer putting up solid numbers in the PCL(Pitcher’s Cemetary League), and the basis of this article. Not to mention his scouting reports, which are about as credible as sabermetric stats. Baseball is baseball, a game where nobody can realistically predict anything. Some come close, but this is just my personal assessment.

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      • geo says:

        I know this isn’t going to post where I want it to, but I’ll respond anyway…the PCL isn’t the only place where he’s hit, you know. He torched the Carolina and Texas Leagues last year as well. And to say you’re basing your prediction on the basis of this article, which is BABIP-focused? Sorry, that’s a really narrow focus for a prediction. There’s more to Eric Hosmer than his BABIP.

        I’m not saying you’re wrong, I was just looking for something credible to back up your statement.

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    • Austin says:

      Irony (n):

      “Hosmer will struggle, guarantee it”

      “Baseball is baseball, a game where nobody can realistically predict anything.”

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  15. Joe956 says:

    I love my Royals but I was hoping to wait on Hosmer until after June. Give him enough time to do some struggling if he does where they can correct the problems. I think he will be a good pro in a year batting above .300 and a Mark Grace type with more power, say, 20-25 homers annually.

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    • Phillie697 says:

      Yeah well, the problem is, with his performance already so far, he’d have to hit like Rey Ordonez from now to June to be considered “struggling” like Moustaka is. I don’t think the Royals are wrong for promoting him, except I don’t know if they really have the financial resources to throw away one year of control on him.

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      • pealsup says:

        They aren’t throwing away a year of control, they are just allowing him to possibly reach Super Two status. All that does is give him 4 years of arbitration instead of 3. He’s still not going to hit FA until after 2017.

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  16. mcneo says:

    This seems like a really bad move. Kila had struggled hitting the high outside corner of the plate, but he was producing much better recently. I do think some changes in his swing mechanics would really help him out.

    Kila absolutely destroyed AAA last year, for a full season. If Hosmer struggles, will they send him back down? If Kila does well will they bring him back? If that happens, could he still not get enough ABs to stay under team control for another season or two?

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  17. jpg says:

    Anyone who questions this guy’s power is blind or only looking at the stats. I dont know how Hosmer’s power is going to translate in terms of how many homers he’s actually going hit, but he has breathtaking power. I saw him hit two balls during spring training that would have gone out even if there was a 40 mph wind in his face. The ball exploded off his bat. He is plenty strong to hit for serious power. Whether his approach, development, bat speed, swing path…. ect. ect. ect….will lead to him hitting 40 jacks is anyone’s guess but if he doesn’t it won’t be for a lack of sheer strength.

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    • kick me in the GO NATS says:

      Many players are flunked in the majors that had otherworldy power in batting practice and spring training.

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    • LionoftheSenate says:

      Don';t you know you are not supposed to watch baseball, you are supposed to follow the numbers on your computer and read projections that project everyone to regress to the mean and if they don’t regress to the mean over their 20 year HOF career, well then that is just a small sample size…..

      No projection system has ever projected a player to have a HOF career yet every year we get new HOF players…..the data never saw it coming.

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  18. BaseWinner says:

    Dave- enjoy your writing and the podcasts. Is there anyway to predict, at least with some degree of accuracy, wRC+ for players getting called up in general. What would be your guess for a 2011 wRC+ number for Hosmer?

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  19. Jim says:

    “I don’t recall too many people, if any, claiming the greatness of the Royals farm system guaranteed any amount of success at the ML level. I don’t recall anyone saying the Royals were the favorites in the AL Central for any given year in the future. Maybe I missed it though.”

    Is this a serious post. Why do you think people rank farm systems…

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  20. kick me in the GO NATS says:

    I personally think the Royals have a dreadful track record on knowing when to promote guya, so I am expecting Hosmer to suck for several seasons. Kila should have been the guy for 500 ABs this season as his minor league numbers were just flat out ungodly for several seasons he should of spent in the majors.

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  21. hennethannun says:

    first at bat looked pretty good. didn’t seem overmatched, managed to hold off on the tough curves and work a tough walk

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  22. Kevin L. Wiley says:

    Hosmer is a going to be an excellent hitter at the major league level and the doubts about his power are unwarranted in my opinion.

    His 2010 year in the minors was excellent, his overall minor league #’s were affected by his poor debut in 2009. However you need to remember that a vision problem was detected and apparently fixed prior to the 2010 campaign.

    He showed solid power with 73 xbh in 2010 including 20 homers, he has a plus glove, and plus speed for the position.

    Minimizing the significance of his early season BABIP makes sense but his SLG in 2010 was .571 1nd so far this year is .582, and with 3 more walks this year than K’s, which is a slight improvement so far than last years speaks to me of a guy with an excellent approach.

    He’s going to a very good MLB player for a longtime barring injury.

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  23. LionoftheSenate says:

    Dave, you keep referencing high expectations, but you NEVER cited them once……instead of asserting “unreasonable” or “high” expectations, how about share an actual quote….

    Every single player in the Majors goes through the minors and every single player has the same factors working for him in the minors, poor fields, bad D and pitchers that don’t throw MLB quality stuff for strikes….

    Other than, the majors are more difficult than the minors, I really don’t understand what you were trying to say…..at all.

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  24. hk says:

    I agree with Dave’s premise that teams should not use minor league BA as a predictor of MLB performance; however, I wonder whether some managers and GM’s – not necessarily Yost and Moore – use stats like BA when explaining decisions because they don’t want to get into a discussion on advanced stats with the media, they think the fan base understands the “traditional” stats better and/or they don’t want other teams to know what advanced statistics they use. If Hosmer had 25 singles instead of 35 in AAA this year, his BABIP would have been .375 and his wOBA would have been .424., which is still better than the wOBA Kila produced during three seasons (ages 25 through 27) at AAA. It’s possible that the Royals are basing the move on these metrics, but they are selling it (and its timing) to the media and fans based on BA because they think it is easier or wiser to do so. Or, maybe not.

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  25. shthar says:

    I knew the royals could ruin him.

    I had my doubts. They buried him for three years, but then actually had him up to start the season.

    But I knew the suck would stick to him to.

    Look for him as the Oakland DH in 2015.

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  26. Antonio bananas says:

    I understand using BABIP as an indicator of “luck”. However, isn’t it kinda dumb to just assume? I realize that it’s better than nothing, but look at the pitches he hits and where he hits them too. If a guy has a high BABIP maybe he’s getting lucky, but I bet there is an exponential increase on the legitimacy of a hit if the batter makes contact on a grooved hanger.

    You can do the same for pitchers. Last year people were talking about Tim Hudson’s “luck”. If a pitcher is consistently in the lower half of the zone with sinking pitches, batters will have a low BABIP on him, doesn’t mean he’s lucky and not just good at pitching to contact.

    I’m excited about Hosmer getting called up. I think a big part of it is that the Royals are looking fairly decent. I didn’t really question their offense though, the rotation, however, is a different story. I wonder if they call one of those studly pitching prospects up. KC is 18-15 now, a pace for 88 wins. If they upgrade with prospect that produce, and absolutely EVERYTHING goes right, they could be a playoff team or at least .500. The Central looks really REALLY weak and you never know with these things.

    As far as the Phillies/Braves thing, people saying the Phillies have a better lineup based on about 30 games is like saying the Braves are a better team because they beat the Phillies 2/3 games in Philly. It’s stupid due to the small sample size. Then again, lineups are relative. If you have 4 of the top 10 pitchers in the league, your hitters don’t have to be as good because some of the good pitching they’d otherwise face are on their team. Atlanta’s lineup, like all the other NL East lineups, have to face the best rotation in the NL a LOT. So, let’s say that at the end of the year Philly and Atlanta have similar offensive statistics, you have to look at it on a curve. Atlanta faced better pitching more often.

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  27. CircleChange11 says:

    Are we REALLY going to fault the Royals for demoting Kila?

    How many other teams would keep him up with a prospect like Hosmer in the minors? The teams that would are those without a solid option.

    This is the reality for an org with many prospects. Perform or be demoted.

    While certain stats need hundreds of PAs to normalize, observing a players approach and handling himself are things a competent hitting coach could detect.

    Do they really need to see 500 ABs of Kila in 2011 to see that it’s not working out? Demoting a player and having him work some things out seemed to work with Gordon.

    Whether we acknowledge it or not, Kila has been really bad … and the Royals have a chance to get their young core some good ML experience in a competitive situation. It’s possible that KC stays in the pack in the ALC and these guys get the experience of playing meaningful MLB games.

    But we can’t just mock the Royals for demoting Kila because we like Kila and hate the Royals. No other team would likely keep him up either. Even if Kila regresses, his full season 2011 projected line is “not good” and KC already has a DH. There’s also the chance that if Kila struggles all year in MLB that it could ruin what may still turn out to be a decent/good MLB bat.

    I don’t see why anyone would say that Kila would be OAKs DH in the future. Throw him in one of the worst hitting environments out there. Is he really that talented?

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  28. DJSatane says:

    hey neboguy look how dumb you look now after 100 at bats by Hosmer he displayed great power, contact and even some patience. Next time keep in mind that there are prospects who rise up instantly to the occasion like Braun.

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  29. ve may bay says:

    Awesome things here. I am very glad to look your post. Thanks a lot and I’m having a look ahead to contact you. Will you kindly drop me a e-mail?

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