In today’s column over at ESPN, Buster Olney (an essential read for any baseball fan) tackles the biggest subject in baseball: the ascension of Royals first base prospect Eric Hosmer to the major leagues. Like so many who are adding comments to the call-up, Olney dives into the pros and cons of bringing up Hosmer at this point in the season. But one key aspect of the column is clear: talent is what landed Hosmer in Kansas City.
Olney writes that he wrote three baseball scouts and asked them to give a few thoughts on Hosmer’s arrival and what fans should expect. The responses read like fanboys fawning over an idol. Here’s an example of the first evaluation:
Eric Hosmer is a physical specimen with a smooth, effortless swing that will produce a high average. He possesses a discerning eye to get on base, and he has prodigious power potential offensively, and cat-like quickness patrolling first base defensively.
The trend only continued, as Evaluator No. 2 noted, “He is a stud. Long and athletic. He has a chance to hit .300 and 30 homers, and win a Gold Glove. [He could have] Jason Heyward-impact from last year.”
The final talent scout made a high comparison to the reigning NL MVP Joey Votto, first baseman for the CIncinnati Reds:
He’s a special player and should have an immediate impact. It’s high praise but not false praise — he reminds me of Joey Votto. I think he can hit 30-35 homers with plate discipline and also be one of the better baserunners among first basemen. He will help, but the question I have is, with the lowest payroll in MLB and no starting pitching, why now?
To answer that last question, sometimes you just go with what works. Sometimes a team takes a high draft pick because the player is simply too good not to select. In this case, a player hitting over .400 in AAA like Hosmer needs a challenge, and the major league organization gets a boost in the process.