KC Royals: Should Eric Hosmer Start The All-Star Game


KC Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer moved a step closer to becoming an American League starter in July’s MLB All-Star Game, making up significant ground on Tigers’ perennial All-Star Miguel Cabrera for the top spot at first base. According to MLB’s latest results, Hosmer voters closed the gap from roughly 250,000 votes a week ago to roughly 70,500 votes as of Monday (and only about 1,500 of those votes came directly from me, so kudos to you all for voting).

All-Star balloting is a sort of gimmick though, as Omar Infante and Alex Rios are top five in votes at their positions, and Miggy is unwavering on the field, so is it even possible Hosmer could start at first base for the AL All-Star team?

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Well, yes, it is a possibility. My schedule really opens up this month, so I’ll be voting. Relentlessly. I won’t actually be voting, but fans select the starters, so anything’s possible. So even if Hosmer does start, has he really been deserving of the honor as the American League’s best first baseman?

Well, maybe.

Hosmer is hitting .302/.379/.505 with seven homers, 12 doubles and 31 RBI. That’s a 23-home run, 40-doubles, 100 RBI pace, and those certainly look like the cornerstone, middle-of-the-order numbers fans hoped for. His batting average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage are all top-three among AL first baseman, and his three stolen bases are tied for first. Wheels!

His 37/22 K/BB ratio is a thing of beauty – given where he was as a hitter last season – and his .379 on-base percentage reflects it.

Hosmer’s 1.9 Wins-Above-Replacement (WAR), according to FanGraphs, leads all AL first baseman except for Cabrera (2.3 WAR), and is tied for ninth among all players in the AL. For comparison, in 131 games last season, Hosmer was worth only 0.1 wins.

His 18% K-rate this season is right around his career average, but his 10.6% walk-rate is what jumps out in terms of Hosmer becoming a better hitter. Prior to this season, he’s only walked 7.6% of the time in the Majors, so he’s upped that number significantly in 2015. His 37/22 K/BB ratio is a thing of beauty – given where he was as a hitter last season – and his .379 on-base percentage reflects it.

He’s seeing more pitches and, as usual, crushing fastballs. He’s hitting line drives 27.9 percent of the time, which leads qualified AL first baseman. Basically, he’s squaring up a ton of balls and swinging at better pitches. This newfound discipline will have to continue if Hosmer hopes to sustain an offensive breakout.

Defensively, there’s not much to be said. He’s the cream of the crop. Hands, range, arm, feet. I defy anyone to find a better defensive first baseman in the AL. Loney? I’ll listen. Teixeria? Meh. Pujols? Five years ago. What about in the entire MLB? No one? Guess not. Hosmer’s not just an All-Star defensive first baseman, he’s as good as it gets.

There’s still a good six weeks before the All-Star game will be played in Cincinnati, so this whole Hosmer vs. Cabrera race has time to really heat up. Only problem is, Miggy never seems to cool off. It’s early June, though, what else are we going to do besides speculate wildly about something that’s a month out?

Next: Has The Lesson Been Learned For The Royals?

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