MLB

Kyle Zimmer, Royals First Round Pick

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The Royals have selected Kyle Zimmer, a right-handed pitcher from the University of San Francisco. The Royals selected Zimmer with the fifth overall pick of the Free Agent Draft. The selection was made even harder because Mark Appel, pitcher from Stanford projected to go No. 1. When Appel slid to the fifth pick the Royals had an extremely hard decision to make and obviously, Dayton Moore and his scouting squad were extremely high on Zimmer. Appel fell all the way down to the Pirates at No. 8.

 Zimmer, only 20-years-old, went 5-3 with a 2.85 ERA in 13 starts, including three complete games, for the Dons in 2012.  In 88.1 innings, he allowed 76 hits, 28 earned runs and only 17 walks. He also managed to wave 104 bats. His command is incredible as demonstrated with his college numbers.  He led the his conference, the West Coast Conference in shutouts, in which he recorded 2. Also, he led the WCC in strikeouts and strikeouts per nine innings (10.6). Zimmer has the best fastball among all collegiate prospects and his curveball is not far behind being ranked in the top 5 in the collegiate ranks.  His fastball can reach up to 99 MPH. He was named a preseason second-team All-American by Baseball America entering 2012 and to the 2012 Midseason USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award Watch List last May.  Zimmer is not all jock, he also puts hard work into his studies where he managed to have a 3.72 GPA.

 

Zimmer, a stud athlete at La Jolla (Calif.) High School in the San Diego area where he played third base for his varsity baseball for four years.  Serving mostly as a position player, he pitched a total of 21.1 innings during his high school career.  Zimmer converted to pitcher his freshman season at USF. He only made five appearances in his freshman year.  He then posted a 6-5 record with a 3.73 ERA last season. The most impressive outing he had was competing against 2011 first-overall selection Gerrit Cole and the UCLA Bruins, 3-0 He dominated the game with a four-hit complete-game shutout with 11 strikeouts in a NCAA regional game in June. Zimmer draws extreme comparisons to Roy Oswalt. If Zimmer can develop a dominate change-up to go along with his fastball, he has a great chance to be an ace for the Royals. While the Royals will not rush him, fans will be calling for his major league debut because of the lack of starting pitching the team has.

Spencer Montgomery

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MLB Mock Draft

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  1.    Houston Astros: Mark Appel, RHP, Stanford – Standing at 6’ 5” 220, Appel possesses prototypical build for a frontline starter in the major leagues. Appel has a fantastic mid to upper 90’s fastball with excellent command. He also has a very good curveball and a devastating changeup. The makeup and stuff are there, the only concern people have about him is he doesn’t miss enough bats due to his lack of deception in his delivery. If Houston doesn’t go with Appel, Byron Buxton should be the choice.
  2.      Minnesota Twins: Byron Buxton, OF, Appling County High School – This 6’ 1” 175 pound outfielder possesses game-changing speed, an incredibly athletic body, a very good arm, and a swing that should eventually produce power as he moves through the minor leagues. Buxton has earned comparison to Justin Upton and Matt Kemp. If the Astros take Buxton at number 1, Appel should land here.
  3.      Seattle Mariners: Carlos Correa, SS, Puerto Rico Academy – Correa might outgrow shortstop, standing at 6’4” at the young age of 17. If he were to change positions down the road, 3rd base or a corner outfield position would be the likely destination. He has absolutely insane power potential, and is a very good contact hitter as well. He has outstanding plate discipline and very good makeup. He also has very good speed, as well as a plus arm. Very easily could be the best player of this draft in 3-4 years.
  4.      Baltimore Orioles: Kevin Gausman, RHP, LSU – This pick is almost impossible to predict as Baltimore could go anywhere with this pick. However, with the lack of pitching currently in their farm system, I bet they go with an arm here, and Gausman is the safest choice. Gausman has an excellent fastball that consistently sits in the mid 90’s, as well as an above average changeup and curveball. His slider is simply the best in this draft, averaging anywhere from 84-88 MPH with sharp downward action.
  5.      Kansas City Royals: Kyle Zimmer, RHP, San Francisco – This pick is almost guaranteed to be a pitcher, and with Dayton Moore’s track record of picking college pitchers, Zimmer is the best college pitcher left on the board. His fastball is in the mid 90’s, but lacks movement. His curveball is devastating, and his makeup is excellent, but his lack of a consistent, above-average 3rd pitch is what is holding him back. 
  6.      Chicago Cubs: Albert Almora, CF, Mater Academy – Chicago’s pick is probably the most predictable pick in the top 10. GM Theo Epstein has been on Almora for weeks. Almora is one of the most polished prep bats in this class, thanks to a mechanically-sound swing and outstanding hand-eye coordination. He possesses an advanced feel for hitting along with plus power and above-average defense in center as well. He’s only an average runner, but he has a very good glove.
  7.      San Diego Padres: Max Fried, LHP, Harvard-Westlake – I doubt Fried slips past the Padres, just because left-handed power pitchers are a valuable commodity. His fastball sits in the lower 90’s, but his off-speed stuff is absolutely extraordinary for his age. He’s only 17, and could add an extra 2 to 3 MPH on his fastball before he gets to the major leagues. He has a tremendous feel for pitching, and is an exceptional athlete.
  8.      Pittsburgh Pirates: Mike Zunino, C, Florida – The hot rumor around baseball is Zunino is falling due to his lack of production this past spring at Florida. Zunino is still the top college bat in this class, so a fall past 8 would be unlikely. The potential is there for Zunino to be a top-hitting catcher, but his defense is his calling card. Pittsburgh loves picking college players, so if Zunino isn’t the pick, look for it to be Devin Marrero.
  9.       Miami Marlins: Courtney Hawkins, OF, Carol H.S. – Hawkins is probably the most powerful and explosive hitter in this draft. The potential is there for him to hit 30-40 homers a season in the majors. Contact can be an issue at times, but with his power it’s hardly a deterrent. Hawkins also possesses in absolute cannon for an arm and has very good speed.
  10.   Colorado Rockies: David Dahl, CF, Mountain Hills H.S. – Dahl has an extremely athletic frame and his insane bat control. The power should develop with time, but Dahl very rarely misses the ball. He is extremely raw, but is an exceptional athlete that should have no problem adjusting to professional baseball. This might be a bit high for him, but comparisons to Colby Rasmus and Carlos Beltran merit a top 10 selection.
  11.   Oakland Athletics: Richie Schaffer, 3B, Clemson – Shaffer shot up draft boards this spring with his combination of bat speed and raw power that’s unparalleled among this year’s crop of college bats. I don’t see a star, but I see a high-probability big-league regular with above-average upside, 20-plus homers with a strong batting average and a few runs a year saved on defense.
  12.   New York Mets: Gavin Cecchini, SS, Barbe H.S. – Cuecchini is probably my favorite player in this draft class. At only 17 years old, he posses very good bat speed and control. His defense is extremely advanced and there is potential for him to be a gold-glove shortstop some day. He has extremely good makeup and his range is phenomenal.
  13.   Chicago White Sox: Matt Smoral, LHP, Straton H.S. – Smoral would be a top 5 pick if not for his extreme injury concerns. His stuff is extremely good and his frame is unbelievable (6’8”, 225.) He certainly is a risk, but if he can stay healthy, Smoral could be a top of the rotation starter.
  14.   Cincinatti Reds: Andrew Heaney, LHP, Oklahoma State – Heaney is one of the older prospects of the class at 22 years old. He established himself as the top left-handed college pitcher in the draft. He has extraordinary stuff, but his delivery is unorthodox and he could be injury prone later in his career. Coming into the season, Heaney wasn’t even really considered a draft prospect but he shot up draft boards with a dominating senior campaign.
  15.   Cleveland Indians: Joey Gallo, 3B, Bishop Gorman H.S. – Gallo would be a potential top 10-pick as a pitcher, but his preference for hitting is so strong that he doesn’t tell scouts when he’s scheduled to pitch, leaving him more of a back of the first round guy because of questions over whether he’ll hit enough to get to his power. If he doesn’t work out as a position player, Gallo could turn into a pitcher. He has a very good arm and has been clocked at 96 MPH off the mound. I’d take a flier on him at the back of the first round for his potential as a low-average, high-power bat in the majors at third or first, but there’s also a real risk that he doesn’t make enough contact to stay a position player and ends up on the mound in three or four years.
  16.   Washington Nationals: Lucas Giolito, RHP, Harvard-Westlake H.S. – Giolito might have been a candidate to go first overall before a tender elbow ended his high school season in March; tests were uniformly negative, showing no ligament or tendon damage, and he’s expected to be able to throw for teams before the draft. His fastball is electric, clocked a few times in triple digits. He has good mechanics and outstanding off-speed stuff. It’s all a matter of staying healthy.
  17.   Toronto Blue Jays: Michael Wacha, RHP, Texas A&M – At season’s outset, Wacha was seen as a top 10 pick because of his great mechanics and exceptional command. His stuff isn’t overpowering, and he isn’t the biggest of guys (5’11” 180.) He has awesome durability, but lacks a second dominant pitch. Probably a back end of the rotation ceiling.
  18.   Los Angeles Dodgers: Ty Hensley, RHP, Edmond H.S. – Hensley has exceptional stuff, good frame, and perfect makeup, but his command is average at best. There’s huge potential here in the raw material if a club feels like they can clean him up and get him to throw more consistent strikes.
  19.   St. Louis Cardinals: Lance McCluers, RHP, Florida – McClurers possesses a perfect frame (6’3” 215) and has very good stuff. His fastball sits in the low 90’s and has very good command. His off-speed is average at best. If not for his extreme overuse in the college, he could be a top 10 pick. Because of the incredible amount of innings he threw in college, scouts are worried he could burn out quickly.
  20.   San Francisco Giants: Corey Seager, SS, Northwest Carribus H.S. – Seager has All-Star upside as a power-hitting third baseman who should offer plus defense at the position once he moves off shortstop. He has very good power and excellent bat control. Concern still remains about his intent to play college baseball at South Carolina, where he is said to be heavily committed to. The Giants need hitting, and if they could manage to sign him, he could become a monster.
  21.   Atlanta Braves: Tanner Raiher, SS, Palm Desert H.S. – Rahier has extremely good bat control and rarely strikes out. He doesn’t possess much power, but that could develop as he moves through the minor leagues. He plays exception defense, but because of his size, he’s likely to move to 3rd base. He has an exceptional arm and is very young at only 17 years old.
  22.   Toronto Blue Jays: Zach Eflin, RHP, Hagerty H.S. – Eflin came into the spring as a super-projectable righty who could scrape 90 with a good changeup, but who was waiting for his velocity to spike. This spring it did, allowing Eflin to sit in the low 90?s and hit 95 with a 6-5, 200-pound frame that still has projection left. Eflin has some trouble repeating his delivery, specifically his stride length and direction, as he is still growing into his body.  When healthy, he has the body, projection and stuff to be a middle-of-the-rotation anchor for years.
  23.    St. Louis Cardinals: Marcus Stroman, RHP, Duke- Stroman would go in the top five picks this year if he were only about five or six inches taller, but at 5-9 or so he’s being pegged as a reliever by most scouts — yet a reliever who could pitch in the majors this year if a team were so inclined. That said, he has a starter’s repertoire in an above-average fastball, an out pitch among his secondary offerings, and a weapon to use against lefties, along with an extremely aggressive approach and tremendous self-confidence on the mound. Should move through the minors very quickly.
  24.   Boston Red Sox: Addison Russell, SS, Pace HS – Russell has an explosive swing that could translate to big power in the majors someday. However, he does have contact issues at times. The attractive thing about Russell is he’s only 18 years old and is about as good of an athlete as Byron Buxton. Crazy speed.
  25.   Tampa Bay Rays: Stephen Piscotty, 3B, Stanford – Piscotty has very good hitting tools. He has both excellent power bat control. His approach at the plate is also outstanding. Piscotty’s weakness is in the field, as he made the 2nd most errors of any Pac 12 3rd baseman this past season. His bat is so explosive that he’s almost guaranteed to be a 1st round selection.
  26.   Arizona Diamondbacks: Hunter Virant, RHP, Palm West High School – Virant is power pitching, high school left-hander. Draws favorable comparisons to Tyler Skaggs.
  27.   Milwaukee Brewers: Ty Buttrey, RHP, Providence H.S. – He is one of the older prep prospects in this years draft at 19 on draft day and will be a draft-eligible sophomore in two years at Arkansas if he opts to go to school. As a big, physical right hander with some polish and a non-zero chance for three plus pitches, Buttrey is an attractive upside play.
  28.   Milwaukee Brewers: Strykar Trahan, C, Acadinia H.S. – Trahan probably has the best name in the draft, but the kid can also play some ball too. He hits extremely well for a catcher, but I doubt he stays there in the minors. He has a very good arm, so he projects out to be a power hitting, solid 3rd baseman.
  29.   Texas Rangers: Lewis Brinson, CF, Coral Springs H.S. – Brinson has as high an upside as any player not named Byron Buxton in this draft with an ultra-projectable frame and plus tools galore. The problem is that fifth tool, his bat, and it’s been so hit and miss that many teams won’t consider him in the top two rounds. An organization that doesn’t necessarily need him in the next couple of years is likely to pull the trigger on him. He will be a project, but well worth it.
  30.   New York Yankees: D.J. Davis, OF, Stone County H.S. – He can fly, but the arm may not translate to anywhere but left field. The comps to Billy Hamilton are too easy — left-handed hitting 80 runners from Mississippi high schools — but Hamilton was also an exception to the recent trend of Mississippi prep hitters failing to make much contact in pro ball. Davis is a great upside play but will likely require a lot of patience as well as some work to calm down his swing.
  31.   Boston Red Sox: Brian Johnson, LHP, Florida – Johnson’s fastball doesn’t overwhelm anyone (upper 80’s), but his changeup and slider are devastating. He projects as a guy that will move through the minors quickly because minor league hitters don’t adjust well to good off-speed stuff.

Tyler Howard

 

The Major Announcement (Salvador Perez)

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When the Kansas City Royals announced that Salvador Perez will be the catcher though 2019 I was ecstatic. My initial thought was this is a huge signing not only because of what he does himself, but also because of the familiarity that the pitchers will have for the future. With all the young pitchers that will be on roster, that familiarity will be huge. The deal is for $7 million 5 years with a club option for 3 years. The total amount through incentives is $26.75. When the announcement was made that the major signing was for Salvador Perez some “fans” on twitter mocked the signing saying this is not major because it is not Hosmer or Gordon. This signing is fits the major mold perfectly.

Picture from: http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10150590198658691&set=a.71650843690.77854.35686273690&type=1&theater

For the Royals to sign a player with comparisons drawn to Pudge Rodriguez and Sandy Alomar Jr. for such a low price allows room for Dayton Moore to work with contracts for Eric Hosmer and Mike Moustakas. The most realistic comparison I can think of is Yadier Molina.  While both Molina and Perez have the arm strength, bat speed, patience, and all other skills needed to play at the major league level, the true aspect that sets them apart from most other catchers is their baseball IQ. Watching Perez as a rookie pick runners off at first base was astonishing. First for a rookie to realize and risk throwing to first, but to actually execute is amazing.

Salvador Perez will bring an intensity to that ballpark that a young team needs. He is a kid that loves the game and he treats the game with the utmost respect. Ned Yost has had beyond high praise for Perez in his Media Session last year.
“He’s got a nice, compact swing.  He puts the ball in play, and he doesn’t strike out,” Yost said.  “Those are pretty key ingredients to having a productive swing.”
“I think he’s got a chance to be the total package,” said Yost, himself a former big league catcher.  “He can be an All-Star-type defender, and he can swing the bat.”
“He blocks the ball as well as anybody I’ve seen.  He’s got as quick of a release as I’ve ever seen.  He’s very coordinated.  He’s very accurate, and given the opportunity, he’s going to throw out a lot of runners.”

Picture from: http://goosejoak.blogspot.com/2011/03/goose-joak-tribute-to-1993-topps.html

Yost pointed out that the Royals pitching staff hasn’t been giving Perez the best opportunity to throw guys out because they are not getting the ball to the plate quick enough.  Getting the ball to the plate quicker is all about a pitcher’s delivery, and speeding up their delivery time is going to be a point of emphasis next spring, Yost mentioned.

“If we’ve got a catcher that can throw like he can, we’ve got to have the ability to give him the opportunity to throw runners out,” Yost said.
Interview from http://royals.mlblogs.com/2011/09/16/ned-yost-media-session-salvador-perez/

Overall, the signing of Perez is just one move towards the future. While it may be a “major” signing, the major obstacle is signing Eric Hosmer. Dayton Moore and the Royals will most likely have to overpay for Hosmer. There will be some amount that is enough to keep Hosmer, the Royals need to find that number and find it quickly before it raises. I expect Salvador Perez to make two All-Star games during this contract because of his talent and lack of talent at the catcher position in the American League. Yes Joe Mauer is the best in the AL but there will always be a back up catcher for the All-Star game.

Spencer Montgomery

“The Old Man” Jeff Francoeur

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On most teams the veterans are 35-38 years old, but for the Kansas City Royals, Jeff Francoeur at 28, is the leader of the clubhouse. Frenchy has the challenge of leading the youngest team in baseball to the playoffs. Dayton Moore and the Royals saw the excellent Francoeur did for the young squad last year and rewarded him to a 2-year deal worth $12.5 million. While this may be overpaying for the stats he may put up, his leadership abilities will be priceless when showing the “kids” how to go about doing their job of playing baseball at a championship level.

http://royalsblog.kansascity.com/?q=node/902

When GM Dayton Moore signed Francoeur to a 1-year deal with the Royals, he had an idea of the productivity he might receive. Along with the Melky Cabrera signing, Moore cashed in with the two 1-year deals. While the Royals had an idea of what Francoeur could do on and off the field for the club, I don’t think anyone expected the stats Frenchy managed to put up. He managed to surprise almost everyone by hitting .285 with 20 homeruns and 87 runs batted in.

Leadership can be described in numerous ways and Francoeur would fit every mold of leadership. He demands respect of the young players and unlike some leaders who are hard on others, Francoeur is an easygoing guy who leads mostly by action. When watching Frenchy play you can’t help but notice the little kid in him. He is actually doing what he always dreamed of. How many people can say they are getting paid to do what they always dreamed of. With the pressure surrounding the prospects that the Royals have, Francoeur shows that it’s just a game and the young players need to stay loose but still play hard. Francoeur is a huge fan favorite because he is not flashy; he just gets the job done.

I expect Frenchy to duplicate numbers close to the ones showed earlier in his career. I see nearly everything staying the same except the outfield assists; teams won’t be likely to run on him again after this throw.

            When most fans think of key players for the Royals their first thought will be Eric Hosmer, but no fan will forget what Francoeur means to the success of players such as Hosmer and Moustakas. Fans have high expectations due to the weak central division the Royals are in. The addition of Prince Fielder clearly puts the  Detroit Tigers as the contender, I just hope the Royals do not fit the mold of a “playoff pretender”.

The Lowest Payroll in Baseball

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Last year the Royals spent $36,126,400 on their payroll. (the least in the MLB) The Yankees spent roughly $200 million dollars. That is roughly 5.5 times the Royals payroll. This year the Royals are expected to add around $22 million to $58 million after Alex Gordon and the Royals agree on an amount. Currently the highest paid Royals is Billy Butler at $8 million. After reviewing the past of the Royals and other statistics, David Glass can surely reach a cap of $70 million. At the beginning of the 2010 season the payroll was set at $72 million. A perfect fit to meet the payroll would be either Edwin Jackson or Roy Oswalt. The team could still have wiggle room because the signing of either pitcher will not even reach $70 million. After looking at the list of teams that are not spending, I have come to conclusion that in today’s day and age, a team must be in the top third in spending to have a realistic chance to win.

Although the main reason for this years low payroll is the youth. For example, the team’s best player, Eric Hosmer, is making the league minimum ($414,000). While the Royals do not have to worry about locking up Hosmer or Moustakas for the future yet, they need to have a blueprint for the future WITH these cornerstones.

Expect to see this much more in 2012

I have great confidence in Dayton Moore because I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. I can see the banners hanging. I can see the “K” filled with excitement. I can see the time when I can talk to my friends (even the ones that don’t like baseball) about the present Royals, not always having to look to the future but to be able to live in the present. The Chiefs and the Royals are the heart and soul of Kansas City.

While most fans have remained patient, some have broken that mold. Most fans are expecting this year to be the turn around year. I for one see this year being extremely promising but just another step on the stairs to greatness. With the division down as it is, I give the Tigers the edge over all contenders. Although Victor Martinez (the Tigers DH) will likely be out for the entire season, the Tigers have the experience and the talent to lock up the division.

All I am hoping for out of this season is to reach the next major checkpoint. The next checkpoint is to compete for the central division. I see that this young group of players can compete just as the Pittsburgh Pirates did last year. The greatest job Dayton Moore has done is creating competition among the team. For example, the bullpen could consist of a variety of faces. Also, Moore managed to keep the leadership that the team needed in Jeff Francoeur. The Royals have the youngest team in baseball. With the youth, KC fans can expect mistakes but also can expect the same feeling that came when Bo Jackson hit BOMB after BOMB into the fountains at Kauffman Stadium.

Although Moore has whiffed miserably with signings such as Jose Guillen (3 years $36 million) or Gill Meche (5 years $55 million). I still have complete confidence in his ability because of the product that will be on the field for next year. With the All-Star Game in Kansas City, this summer gives the Royals the chance to create excitement for the amazing fans of Kansas City.

Statistics come from http://www.stevetheump.com/Payrolls.htm

Spencer

Eric Hosmer

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Eric Hosmer was drafted 3rd in 2008 for his rare combination of size and tools. He’s viewed primarily as a potential slugger, but his game offers much more than home runs. His swing is level and smooth, and he covers the plate well considering his size. He has power to all fields, and he is almost too willing to take outside fastballs to the opposite field rather than waiting for a pitch that he can pull over the right field fence. Last year, Hosmer displayed his ability to hit the other way with most of his 27 doubles going through the gap in left field.
His batting eye fits his size and swing perfectly, making him a complete power-hitter. While he has 30 home-runs potential, his strength rests in his well-rounded offensive abilities. Besides his potential plus-plus power, Hosmer will offer batting average, on-base skills, and is adept at racking up doubles to both gaps. I believe at this point of his career, Hosmer is more of a contact hitter then power hitter.
In addition to his bat, Hosmer has gained respect throughout the league because of his glove and arm. Hosmer in high school could throw 95 mph. While that doesn’t matter at first base much, it can still be useful when turning two. Furthermore, Hosmer has displayed his leather skills with numerous scoops. His long length helps him to be able to snag more balls then usual. He is no Big Poppa Fielder (Prince Fielder). He actually has movement to both his left and right.
As long as he develops as planned, Hosmer’s ability at the plate and in the field will make him a perennial All-Star. While he has plus-plus power potential, he has yet to consistently show his HR power. So far in his career he has mostly displayed his power for doubles. According to J.J. Cooper of Baseball America, many in the Royals organization see a likeness between Eric Hosmer and 1989 NLCS MVP, Will Clark. Will Clark was just on the ballot for the Hall of Fame.

Hosmer covers the strike zone very well, and he’s always been solid in the BB/K area although this year he struggled with (34/820) (Not great, but what is expected of a rookie). Hosmer also hits them where they are pitched spraying the ball all over the field. Hosmer has the rare ability to fight off pitches he really can’t handle allowing him to extend at-bats. To hear some scouts talk about how his approach and swing remind them of a combination of Joe Mauer and Joey Votto, is a promising sign for Hosmer and Royals fans alike.

Hosmer didn’t have a problem in hitting for a decent average right off the bat (Yes, I meant for that pun, and, yes, I’m witty). Given that he plays first base, patience could wear thin if he is does not hit 25 home runs. Of course, he is not where he will be in five years especially with his power.

Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer finished his rookie season with 19 homers, 11 base swipes, 78 RBIs, 66 runs scored and a .293 batting average. Hosmer has the most potential out of any player for the Royals. Keep in mind Hosmer was in contention for rookie of the year although he was called up on May 5th. I predict Hosmer will have a .301 batting average with 25 Home Runs. Hosmer will score 90 runs while driving in 100 RBI’s. He will snag 13 bases. Expect his slugging percentage to be around .500, and he will improve with his ability to see the plate as he will be walked 41 times. I predict him to strike out 84 times.

 Hosmer won’t be a free agent until after the 2017 season, and Royals fans should be extremely excited when thinking about the future mostly because of Hosmer. He is for sure the piece the Royals will be looking to build around.

Spencer