If it weren’t for the St. Louis Cardinals, the Kansas City Royals would be far and away the best team in baseball. One of the team’s most integral and irreplaceable players is Eric Hosmer, who as a result of the team’s success, is making a strong case as baseball’s best first baseman.
It might seem a little outlandish to call Hosmer a top-tier player in the league. Given the yearly performances of other more notable first baseman such as Paul Goldschmidt, Anthony Rizzo and Prince Fielder, Hosmer might not be up to par statistically with his first base brethren.
However, when your one of the best offensive player on a first place team, the stats don’t always tell the whole story.
The Royals don’t feature a true superstar on their roster. They have relied on under the radar type players that don’t get near the attention they deserve. So, when trying to pinpoint the teams unquestioned clubhouse leader, many are slow to respond. Although, if you ask outfielder, Lorenzo Cain, Eric Hosmer makes a strong case, and by doing so helps the team continue their winning ways.
“He’s always been the type of guy to always put the team first,” Cain, said. “He’s definitely a huge team player, and that’s what we need. I feel the chemistry is so good in the clubhouse because we all are team players, and that’s one thing that allows us to be such a tight group.”
Hosmer’s best year came during the 2013 season. As a 23-year-old Hosmer accumulated 188 hits and scored 86 runs. The following season saw the now 25-year-old only garner 503 plate appearances in almost 100 fewer at bats. But, with a little over a month left in the 2015 campaign, Hosmer is on pace to replicate his breakout 2013 year.
Many don’t give Hosmer the credit he deserves because he isn’t as flashy as other first baseman such as Goldschmidt or Rizzo. The home run totals don’t reach into the upper 30’s, but that’s not likely to be the case much longer. Hosmer has shown this season that he does indeed have the ability to hit the long ball. His slugging percentage is .486, the highest of his career.
In addition, Hosmer’s OPS is also setting a new standard for him, as he posts a .861 OPS.
While his numbers aren’t as potent as that of Rizzo and Goldschmidt, Hosmer is still a young player. At 25, he is younger than both of the aforementioned superstars. What’s most important though is he and the Royals have a track record of success.
Because at the end of the day winning is all that matters, statistics only tell half the story.