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Underrated Players: Eric Hosmer

26 year old Hosmer is one of the biggest reasons for the success of the Kansas City Royals Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
26 year old Hosmer is one of the biggest reasons for the success of the Kansas City Royals
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The Kansas City Royals team of young, affordable, and under the radar talent has been glossed over multiple times. The most recent times that people have taken their talent for granted? 2014, made it to the World Series, 2015, won the World Series. Now people are taking one of their best players for granted, in Eric Hosmer. On a recent top ten first baseman segment on MLB Network, Hosmer made only one of three lists, and it was not the one by the super pannel of sabermetrics geniuses. I would argue that not only is Hosmer a top ten first baseman, he is possibly even in the top five. In 2015, Hosmer was tied for 14th across all of baseball in runs scored (98), tied for 14th in hits (178), tied for 22nd in RBI (93), tied for 22nd in batting average (.297), and 26th in on base percentage (.363). Maybe that doesn't seem as impressive as it really is, so let's break it down to just first baseman. Among first baseman with at least 100 games played, Hosmer was 8th in batting average with runners in scoring position. Among first baseman with at least 150 games played, Hosmer was second only to Prince Fielder (Fielder with a .318, Hosmer .293). Hosmer was also 3rd in runs scored, 3rd in hits, 5th in doubles, tied for 1st in triples, 8th in RBI, 5th in average (at least 115 games played, he was also 4th among first baseman with at least 150 games), and 5th in on base percentage (at least 150 games, he is 8th if you cut it to 115). How is this not top ten status? Let's compare him to a few of the league's other top first baseman. Brandon Belt was ranked the #10 first baseman by the MLB Network "Shredder", and by MLB Network anylist Brian Kenny, both of which excluded Eric Hosmer. While Belt did lose some time to injury, Hosmer beat him in runs, hits, tied him in doubles, triples, and homeruns, beat him by a landslide in RBI, walked more, struck out less, had a higher average, and a higher on base percentage. Let's compare him to the Shredder's number nine first baseman, Chris Davis. Davis is known as one of the top sluggers in the game, so much so that he just landed a seven year $161 million dollar contract. But, Hosmer scored only two less runs than Davis, had more hits, more doubles, struck out 100 times less (literally, Davis had 208 Hosmer 108), had a higher average, and a higher on base percentage. Let's move up to the shredder's number 8 first baseman, Freddie Freeman. While yes, Freeman was limited to only 118 games so it may not be a fair comparison, Hosmer beat him in runs, hits, doubles, RBI, walks, average, and tied him in homeruns. Let's take the number 7 spot, Adrian Gonzalez. Gonzalez has now been dominating the league for parts of 12 seasons, but in 2015 Hosmer beat him in runs, hits, RBI, average, and on base percentage. Let's jump up all the way to the number 4 spot on all three MLB Network lists, Chicago Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo. In my opinion, Anthony Rizzo had a very solid and overlooked case for 2015 NL MVP, and Hosmer still beat him in hits, runs, and average. Am I saying Hosmer is better than any of the above players? Not neccesarily, although some of them yes. What I am saying is Hosmer is one of the most complete first baseman in the entire league, and without a doubt a member of the top ten. It's not often that you get a first baseman who can hit for average, drive in runs, steal an occasional base, hit for a surprising amount of power considering Kauffman Stadium is a tough hitters park, and play exceptional deffense. His deffense is so good, in fact, that he is a Gold Glove first baseman three years running. How can you not include him in the top ten? Especially when you consider he is only 26 and is still getting even better in some areas. The time has come for baseball to recognize the Royals as one of the best teams in baseball, and their talent for what it really is. 

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