Hosmer excited about future in KC

Eric Hosmer entered his first Major League spring training last February as a non-roster invitee.  There were varying expectations from baseball types and media members.  Some pointed to a breakout 2010 season that included Hosmer’s participation in the XM Futures All-Star Game, the Pan Am Qualifying Tournament for Team USA and the Arizona Fall League’s Rising Stars Game.  Baseball America listed Hosmer as the top prospect in a KC farm system that was ranked first among all 30 across baseball.  Others pointed out that Hosmer had played just 50 games above Class-A prior to 2011 and was a year removed from batting a combined .241.  The result was a season that beat all expectations, even those of Hosmer.

The first baseman’s goal at the beginning of 2011 was to get a shot at the Major League level at some point.  The shot came sooner rather than later as Hosmer batted a sizzling .439 in 26 games for Triple-A Omaha.  His fast start resulted in a call to KC, where he made a much-anticipated debut on May 6.  Hosmer compiled a .293 average with 19 home runs and 78 RBI in 128 games while making spectacular plays at first base.  The performance earned him the Joe Burke Special Achievement Award from members of the Kansas City Baseball Writers Association of America and placed him firmly in the discussion for A.L. Rookie of the Year.

Hosmer has now had a month to reflect on the quick start to his Major League career.  He watched the World Series with a different perspective this year as he now knew many of the umpires and players involved.  He pointed out today on a conference call with the media that many of his teammates also exceeded personal expectations in 2011.   Several top KC prospects were expected to play at Triple-A this year and fight for a Major League job out of spring training in 2012.  Instead, those prospects made the Majors in 2011 and became familiar with the opponents and the surroundings. 

Chances are that the Joe Burke Award is the first of many individual honors at the Major League level for the just-turned 22-year old (birthday was on October 24).  However, his goals are all team-oriented.  He wants to reach the playoffs and win as many championships as possible.  He mentioned how fans around the city would stop him and say how excited they were about the Royals.  Hopefully that excitement is the tip of the iceberg, just as 2011 was for Hosmer’s career.

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