Eric Hosmer is a special hitter; he possesses that rare combination of power and advanced plate discipline. Headed into the 2011 season, the 6-foot-4, 230-pound first baseman has garnered top-prospect honors on nearly every Royals’ prospect list, and been featured on most people’s top-10 – we’ve got him at #6. Simply put: he’s a beast.
After nearly two weeks of games, Hosmer has been the clear-cut star at the Royals’ camp–an organization that has nine players in Baseball America’s Top 100. (Hat tip to Mitch Maier who is currently hitting .647. He should try to enjoy it while it lasts). Through Hosmer’s first 14 at-bats, he has six hits, including a double and two bombs, and six RBI. Overall, he’s hitting .429 and has hit safely in five of the eight games in which he’s played.
And in case anyone missed his grand slam last Saturday against the Cubs, I insist that you watch it, immediately. With the Royals down 4-0 in the sixth inning, Hosmer belted a game-tying shot on the ninth pitch of the at-bat. The home run, as well as the entire at-bat, is the essence of his phenomenal approach at the plate.
Although Hosmer has already shown that he might be as good as advertised, he still has one major weakness: bunting. Okay, I know that he probably will never be asked to lay one down in his career — why would he? — but he certainly should still be capable of doing so. Right?
As I watched Hosmer’s batting practice video from the Futures Game for what must be the twentieth time, I noticed something that I had always overlooked. On the first two pitches of the round, Hosmer attempts to lay down a bunt — the traditional start to any round of BP. Needless-to-say, it went terribly and even invoked memories of Rey Ordonez in the 1999 NLCS.
Don’t worry, I don’t actually care about his small-ball aptitude. It just struck me as shockingly bad.