In an in-depth interview with Fangraphs, Kansas City Royals 3B Eric Hosmer talked about his transition to the majors at only 21 years old, his plate philosophy and what he wants to improve heading into next season.
Like most major-leaguers, Hosmer has to walk a fine line between relying on his instincts at the plate and knowing the tendencies of his opponents:
You can’t really think too much. It’s more about just having a plan against the guy you’re facing. You’re basically knowing his strengths, knowing your own strengths, and sticking with your plan. I try to see ball and hit ball, and keep it as simple as possible.
After starting out his rookie season strong, he quickly became a known commodity in the American League:
Yeah, there was a span, early on, where with two strikes I was swinging at a lot of high fastballs. Teams have scouting reports and video, so they were going there on two-strike counts until I proved to them that I could lay off that pitch. This game is all about adjustments, and you have to adjust on the fly.
And going into next year, he wants to continue to improve his plate discipline:
No. You can never be satisfied. There’s always room for improvement, so you’re always looking to get better. I think it has gotten better since I first got up here, but I need to continue to work on it.
Plate discipline is huge. It’s all about seeing the ball out of the pitcher’s hand, and I think the more reps you get off of certain guys — and pitchers in general — the better you get at it. Regardless, it’s definitely a key to hitting.
The history of MLB is littered with guys who started their careers strong but couldn't make adjustments once pitchers began to learn his weaknesses. But Hosmer, after hitting .289/.334/.465 with 19 HR's as one of the youngest players in the majors, looks poised for the long haul in Kansas City.