Can Eric Hosmer make Kauffman Stadium his bitch?
Photo Credit: jeffisageek
The up-and-coming Kansas City Royals made headlines today by calling up their top prospect, first baseman Eric Hosmer. Baseball America ranked Hosmer No. 8 on their Top 100 Prospects list in February, and he is the consensus No. 1 1B prospect in the league. To make room for Hosmer, the struggling Kila Ka'aihue was demoted to Omaha.
Hosmer is a must-add in all leagues. The No. 3 overall pick in the 2008 MLB Draft, the 6-foot-4 lefty will post good power numbers with an excellent average. Expect 17-22 HR the rest of this season with an average near .300. The former Storm Chaser demonstrated excellent plate discipline in the Minors (.393 career OBP) so Hosmer is even more valuable in leagues that count OBP or strikeouts. His upside is higher than Freddie Freeman, Brandon Belt, Anthony Rizzo or any other 1B prospect expected to debut in 2011 or 2012. Do not hesitate to use a top waiver pick on Hosmer, and spend your entire FAAB budget if you really need a hitter.
Kila Ka'aihue, on the other hand, can be dropped even in the deepest AL-only leagues. Many pundits expected the Kila Monster to get a longer look from the Royals after 3 successful seasons in AAA. But after posting a putrid .195 average through 23 games, Ka'aihue was expelled like a rotten pineapple. Presumably, the Royals now consider him to be merely organizational depth.
Going forward, here are my rankings for the top 10 first basemen in the Minor Leagues. Keep in mind, Eric Hosmer should be ranked way ahead of everybody on this list:
1. Brandon Belt, SF
2. Anthony Rizzo, SD
3. John Singleton, PHI
4. Yonder Alonso, CIN
5. Paul Goldschmidt, ARI
6. Rich Poythress, SEA
7. Brandon Allen, ARI
8. Chris Marrero, WAS
9. Cody Hawn, MIL
10. Matt Adams, STL
There is a huge drop-off between Goldschmidt and Poythress. Heading into this season, Freddie Freeman was ranked above Belt, and Mark Trumbo was ranked above Goldschmidt.