For Eric Hosmer to become the American League’s Most Valuable Player, it’ll have to be a team effort. But, the Kansas City Royals are used to the concept.
Kansas City Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer is off to the best offensive start of his still-young career, and is coming off the best season he’s ever had. He’s on pace for personal bests in batting average, slugging percentage, OPS and total bases. He’s going to set a career-high for home runs, and could hit 30 in spite of playing half his games in cavernous Kauffman Stadium. Hosmer’s a proven defender, having won Gold Gloves each of the past seven seasons.
But for Hosmer to be in any kind of serious discussion about becoming the American League Most Valuable Player, he’s going to need a little help from his friends.
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The one key individual statistic Hosmer is not on pace to set a new personal standard is runs batted in. Going into games of May 20, He has eight home runs but only 20 RBIs.
That’s where he needs his teammates. Lorenzo Cain has yet to hit his stride, so there’s not been a lot of opportunity for Hosmer to drive him in. Kendrys Morales has been awful in the early going, so much so teams are looking to pitch around hitters to get to him. He looks much more like the Kendrys Morales that Seattle had zero interest in keeping, and less like the guy who fit so well with the Royals’ World Championship offensive philosophy. Kansas City wants to put the ball in play, but as of May 20 Morales has more strikeouts (32) than hits (29).
As a team the Royals started off solidly enough; not as fast as 2015 but still more than respectable. After a tough stretch of schedule that saw the Royals in five cities from coast-to-coast in two weeks (Anaheim, Seattle, Kansas City, Cleveland and New York) there are signs of a rebound; nothing to get too fired up about, but hardly looking for the directions for the panic button.
Through the thick and thin, Hosmer has been consistent. He needs guys in front of him to get on base, and the dudes behind him for protection.
The list of players who have had sub-par seasons following a World Series win is long, but it’s clear Hosmer did the offseason work necessary to make another run. I’m sure his teammates did as well, and they’d probably tell us that work needs to manifest itself into production.
When it does, (and it’s when, not if) then Hosmer should get his due. He should make his first All-Star team this year, and when the dust settles he should be no worse than in the top five in the AL MVP discussion. So yes, Eric Hosmer can be the Most Valuable Player in the American League.
All of which he’d trade in a heartbeat for another World Series ring.