Quick poll: Who was the last memorable Royal? Was it George Brett? How about Bo Jackson? By the end of 2012, we may have a new figurehead in that department.
We are always looking for the next big thing, the player that elevates us from middle of the pack to title contender (this is true in both fantasy and reality). This year, I am putting all of my eggs into the basket of none other than Eric Hosmer.
I am going to use a 2012 projected blind resume by Bill James (you need to make a note of guys like this) to make my point:
Player A: 651 PA, .282 AVG, 32 HR, 79 runs, 102 RBIs, 1SB, .372 OBP and .497 SLG
Player B: 700 PA, .271 AVG, 33 HR, 103 runs, 120 RBIs, 3 SB, .365 OBP and .508 SLG
Player C: 653 PA, .311 AVG, 23 HR, 76 runs, 92 RBIs, 14 SB, .362 OBP and .494 SLG
The best player in this group is obviously player B, which is Mark Teixeira, followed by a close second which is none other than player A, Paul Konerko. Finally, we come to player C — Hosmer. In a standard 5X5 league, he is, with out a doubt, winning two of the five categories (steals and batting average) over Konerko and Teixeria. But what he does this season may push him up past these two into the top echelon of first basemen.
First thing we must discuss is age. Tex will turn 32 in a few days (April 11) and Konerko is 36, while Hosmer is just a mere 22 years old. He should exhibit enormous growth, whereas Tex and Konerko should either level off or even decline.
Looking at past numbers, Teixeira’s batting average, OBP, SLG and BABIP have dropped in each of the past four consecutive seasons, which is a very alarming statistic. Konerko has been somewhat of a statistical anomaly the past two seasons. His batting average, OBP and SLG are much higher than his career numbers suggest. The numbers seem to indicate Konerko and Teixeria may be on the other side of the hill.
This brings us back to Hosmer. His major league comparison is Joey Votto (a top-15 fantasy darling). In spring training (yeah I know, but with numbers like this you must pay attention), Hosmer’s batting average is .416, slugging .714, with 5 HR, 8 doubles and 29 RBIs (spring best).
Would I hate on anyone reaching for Hosmer early over Konerko and Tex? No. Would I be surprised if he hit +.300 AVG, 30+ HR, and 10+ steals? No. He could easily surpass these two guys because there is plenty of upside to be had by grabbing Hosmer; but with that, there also comes the possibility of regression (sophomore slump?). Regardless of this, in my opinion, he is one of the few young players who is well worth the risk to be given such a high draft status.