Thursday, December 30, 2010
Arizona Fall League Scouting Report: Eric Hosmer
From: American Heritage High School, Plantation, Florida (#3 Overall pick in 2008)
Hosmer’s first pro season (2009) was extremely disappointing as he posted a paltry .707 OPS (major league average is .730) between low and high A ball. His struggles can be attributed to an astigmatism, which he developed during the offseason prior to the 2008 campaign and was diagnosed with prior to the season. Combined with his poor eye sight which was eventually corrected by Lasik eye surgery, Hosmer fractured a knuckle on his right hand which impeded his ability to grip the bat. When you can’t see the ball you’re supposed to hit or grip the bat you’re supposed to hit it with, you are going to struggle. The results he yielded in 2009 caused him to fall to #5 in Baseball America’s Prospect Handbook, down from #2 the previous year.
The following season, Hosmer had a fantastic .977 OPS while hitting 20 HRs, 7 of those HRs coming in an infamously difficult home park at Single A Wilmington. He reached AA ball at age 20 and completely reestablished his astronomical value as one of baseball’s better prospects. He’s turned everything around and has all star potential.
Hosmer has a smooth left handed swing. He combines fine bat speed with good balance and generates plus raw power. He takes the ball the other way comfortably. More impressive for me are his low strikeout totals. Hosmer struck out 66 times in 520 at-bats in 2010 and walked 59 times. That’s a rather impressive ratio for someone to boast for their 20 year old season.
The one problem Hosmer has is a tendency to get his front foot down late (Ryan Howard has the same problem from time to time) which throws his swing off and causes him to get pull happy.
Hosmer is a below average runner and won’t help on the bases.
Hosmer has an above average throwing arm that would play in the outfield which would be beneficial to the Royals because of the glut of 1B/DH types they have coming up through the minors, but his slow feet would limit his range in an outfield corner and he’d end up as a liability. He has soft hands and is enough of an athlete to be above average at first base.
As far as ceilings go, Hosmer may be the best 1B prospect left in the minors (though Brandon Belt is much closer to the majors) and is one of the crown jewels of the Royals’ stellar farm system.
Above: A couple looks at the swing
Below: A really great at-bat