The Royals are about to get more interesting, and harder to ignore.
Eric Hosmer is on the way.
Hosmer is part of the group of prospects that had people raving this spring, to the point of calling the Royals the early favorite to win -- in 2013. He wasn't expected to be in the big leagues this soon, but his great start at Triple-A Omaha (and the struggles of first baseman Kila Ka'aihue) pushed the Royals to make the move after Thursday's 9-1 win over the Orioles.
Good for them. Hosmer had little left to prove in the Pacific Coast League, where some managers had started to simply pitch around the powerful first baseman (as evidenced by 19 walks in 26 games).
"He's a man among boys," said one scout who saw Hosmer recently.
He's a 21-year-old man, with just 76 games above Class A. But he has big-time power, who opened eyes with long-distance home runs this spring, and also with a shot that went all the way out of the stadium at Omaha.
This week, Hosmer went 8-for-12 in a series at Albuquerque, to raise his average for the season to .439 (with a .525 on-base percentage and an 1.107 OPS). Meanwhile, Ka'aihue was hitting .195 for the Royals, with 26 strikeouts in 82 at-bats.
In spring training, it seemed that third baseman Mike Moustakas would lead the next wave of Royals' position-player prospects. The Royals still love Moustakas (hitting .235 with 20 RBI in 24 games), but scouts say he could use some work on his defense.
Mike Montgomery and Danny Duffy, the two most advanced candidates to help the Royals' rotation, are off to fast starts at Omaha. Montgomery has a 2.45 ERA (but has walked 19 in 33 innings), while Duffy's ERA is 2.08 (with an impressive 33 strikeouts and six walks in 26 innings).