Royals Farm Report

PLAYER PROFILE
Eric Hosmer
First base
AA-Northwest Arkansas Naturals
20 years old
Bats: Left
Throws: Left
Height: 6’4”
Weight: 215 lbs.
Drafted by the Royals in the 1st round of the 2008 MLB Draft

To get to know the third overall pick in the 2008 draft, one needs to look no further than this:

That’s Eric Hosmer. And to Royals fans, he represents the middle-of-the-order power hitter the team has been sorely lacking since the days of Bo Jackson.

The 20-year-old first baseman not only hits like a big leaguer. At 6’4’ and 215 pounds, he’s also built like a big leaguer.

Hosmer was a star at American Heritage High School in Plantation, Fla., when he was selected third overall by the Royals in 2008, which could go down as one of the best baseball draft classes in years. Besides Hosmer, the first round also featured Pedro Alvarez (2nd overall), Brian Matusz (4th), Buster Posey (5th), Gordon Beckham (8th) and Ike Davis (15th), all of whom have already made huge impacts for their respective big-league teams.

But Hosmer’s slower progress should not be a point of concern. First of all, he’s younger than all of those players, who were drafted out of college. Second, he has dominated this season at two levels in the minor leagues.

With the A+ Wilmington Blue Rocks, Hosmer batted an eye-popping .354 and slugged .545, earning a mid-season promotion to AA-Northwest Arkansas. With the Naturals, he’s been even better, bashing 12 home runs (19 total for the season), and his slugging percentage has climbed to .614. He’s also driven in 83 home runs on the season and has stroked 42 doubles.

What’s next for the young first baseman? The road ahead is chock-full of obstacles. At the major league level, Billy Butler seems to have the first base job sewn up until someone takes it from him. Kila Ka’aihue, another first baseman, is likely going to be the leading candidate to be the DH out of Spring Training next year.

Between the Majors and Double A, though, there’s not much competition. In fact, Hosmer and first baseman Clint Robinson, who’s also been raking this year (.33 average, 28 home runs, 94 RBIs), are both likely candidates to take over the starting first base job at Omaha.

After that, the sky’s the limit. If Ka’aihue flames out, Hosmer could quickly become a viable option. Also, there’s an above-average chance that Hosmer could be converted to a corner outfielder.

Either way, look for him to make a play for the big league team as early as 2012.

MiLB WEEKLY ROUNDUP
AAA – Omaha Royals
Record to date: 78-62, third place in the PCL American North
The past week: 5-2, including a 23-5 victory over Round Rock (see “Position Player of the Week,” below)
Transactions: Luke Hochevar was sent from Kansas City to Omaha on a rehab assignment.
Coming up: The O-Royals are visiting Oklahoma City this week to finish the season. Currently sitting in third place, Omaha will likely miss the playoffs.

AA – Northwest Arkansas Naturals
Record to date: 41-25 in the second half (first place), 83-53 overall
The past week: 5-2, with a doubleheader sweep against Arkansas
Transactions: None.
Coming up: The Naturals finish the regular season at home against Tulsa. They are guaranteed a playoff spot.

A+ – Wilmington Blue Rocks
Record to date: 34-31 in the second half (second place), 66-69 overall
The past week: 3-4, splitting a four-game series with Myrtle Beach
Transactions: None.
Coming up: The Blue Rocks finish the regular season at home vs. Frederick. Wilmington is one game out of first and could grab a playoff spot over the last series of the season.

POSITION PLAYER OF THE WEEK

Mike Moustakas

Mike Moustakas, Third base, AAA-Omaha Royals

.400 (12-for-30), seven home runs, 21 RBI

This is a no-brainer. Mike Moustakas may have had the best week by a Royals minor leaguer in… well, ever. Moustakas clubbed seven dingers over the one-week stretch, including Monday night’s game against Round Rock, which included three round-trippers and a cool 11 RBIs in a 23-5 Omaha victory. Not too shabby for the player who may be the Kansas City Royals’ starting third baseman next season.

PITCHER OF THE WEEK

Everett Teaford, AA-Northwest Arkansas Naturals

1-0, 6.1 IP, 1 earned run

Teaford leads the Royals’ organization in victories this year with a 14-4 record. His most recent victory, at home vs. Arkansas, was a quality start where Teaford fanned six and walked only two.

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