Royals could wait no longer: Hosmer to KC

"He's ready. It's as simple as that." And with those words by Royals manager Ned Yost, the Eric Hosmer era in Kansas City is set to begin. After the Royals' 9-1 victory over Baltimore on Thursday afternoon, the club announced it has selected Eric Hosmer's contract and reassigned Kila Ka'aihue to Triple-A Omaha. Hosmer should debut against Oakland in Kansas City on Friday evening.

To make room on the 40-man roster for Eric Hosmer, the Royals moved injured catcher Jason Kendall to the 60-day disabled list. Hosmer will become the everyday starter at first base.

Through 26 games with the Omaha Storm Chasers this season, the 21-year-old first baseman hit .439/.525/.582 with five doubles, three home runs, and 15 RBIs. Hosmer departs Omaha leading all minor league baseball players in batting average and on-base percentage.

"He just continued to put up big numbers up down there," said Royals manager Ned Yost in a postgame news conference. "At first base, you need to have prototypical type numbers. You need to have guys that can drive in runs and guys that can hit for average.

"Hosmer's hitting .440 down there. Everybody agrees watching him that he's ready. We wanted to wait as long as we could, just to give him as much experience at the Triple-A level that we could, but he just proved that he's ready to be here."

Yost said that Hosmer was "real close" to making the club out of spring training. The 2008 first round draft pick played in 13 games for the Royals this spring, going 9-for-20 (.450) with two home runs and eight RBIs while playing his customarily excellent defense.

"The thing that impressed me the most about him was that just about every spring training game that we played, he was if not the best player, one of the best players on the field for both teams," said Yost.

Royals left fielder Alex Gordon agreed that Hosmer's performance this spring left an impression on everyone.

"We got to see what kind of a kid Eric was during spring training, so we're not worried about him coming up here too fast or anything like that," said Gordon. "We feel like he's going to fit in right away, and with his abilities, it's going to be fun to watch."

Hosmer was selected by the Royals as the third overall pick in the first round of the 2008 draft. After a brief stint in Idaho Falls that summer, he made his full-season debut with the Low-A Burlington Bees in 2009. Unfortunately, vision problems plagued the young first baseman for most of the season, and despite earning a midseason promotion to the High-A Wilmington Blue Rocks, he finished the year with a disappointing line of .241/.334/.361.

After successful LASIK surgery, however, Hosmer exploded back on the prospect scene in 2010, destroying pitching in both the Carolina League and the Double-A Texas League. He hit .338/.406/.571 with 43 doubles and 20 home runs between the two levels, and he entered this season as the consensus top prospect in the Royals' stacked farm system.

This year, it took him just 98 at bats to prove to the Royals that he was ready for the big leagues.

"The numbers speak for themselves," said Yost. "Quite frankly, we wanted to wait for 200 at bats and let him get his feet really on the ground. But we're playing pretty good baseball, and we need some production out of that first base spot."

Eric Hosmer's Career Statistics

YEAR LEVEL
AB
R
H
2B
3B
HR
RBI
AVG
OBP
SLG
2008 Rookie
11
2
4
2
0
0
2
.364
.533
.545
2009 2 Teams
377
40
91
19
4
6
59
.241
.334
.361
-- 2009 Low-A
280
31
71
17
2
5
49
.254
.352
.382
-- 2009 High-A
97
9
20
2
2
1
10
.206
.280
.299
2010 2 Teams
520
87
176
43
9
20
86
.338
.406
.571
-- 2010 High-A
325
48
115
29
6
7
51
.354
.429
.545
-- 2010 Double-A
195
39
61
14
3
13
35
.313
.365
.615
2011 Triple-A
98
21
43
5
0
3
15
.439
.525
.582
CAREER  
1006
150
314
69
13
29
162
.312
.393
.493