I was listening to Inside Pitch on SiriusXM radio yesterday afternoon, and Jim Bowden stated he thinks Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer will be an All Star within the next five years. Heck, he even predicted he could be a Triple Crown winner before his career is over, but let's stick with Hosmer being an All Star within the next five seasons.
When I first heard it, I said to myself "well yeah. He's a stud and will continue to get better over the next five seasons. He SHOULD be an All Star first baseman at some point." But wait.
The list of excellent first baseman in the American League seems to go on forever. And that was before this offseason, where we saw Albert Pujols sign with the Angels and Prince Fielder sign with the Tigers. You have that guy over in Boston-Adrian Gonzalez-who is a former All Star. And Mark Teixeira in New York is not too shabby if he can get back to hitting for a better average. Don't forget the guy Fielder is displacing from first base, Miguel Cabrera, and White Sox first baseman Paul Konerko is still putting up All Star-like stats at the age of 36 even though every year some fantasy baseball writer will project a bust of a season for him.
More after the jump:
Hosmer had a very good rookie season, and I would not have been surprised if he had won the AL Rookie of the Year last year. The 22 year old hit .293-.334-.465 with 19 HRs, 78 RBI, 66 runs and 11 stolen bases in 523 at bats last season, and everyone has bought into the Joey Votto comparisons.
Votto, in his rookie season with the Reds hit .297-.368-.506 with 24 HRs, 84 RBI, 67 runs scored and 7 stolen bases in 526 at bats. One thing Votto did at the plate, right from the start, was take a walk. He walked at a 10% clip in his rookie season, and has seen that grow to just over 15% in 2011.
Hosmer didn't walk too much last season, as his 6% walk rate indicates, but he strikes out less than Votto, striking out in just 14.6% of his at bats last season, while Votto struck out 17.3% of his at bats in his rookie season.
But getting back to Hosmer becoming an All Star. I took that to mean the "starting" first baseman at the All Star game, and Bowden confirmed it. Now, I can see Pujols, Teixeira and Fielder slowing down a bit in the next 5 seasons, but Adrian Gonzalez might give Hosmer the biggest fight as the All Star first baseman for the American League.
Frankly, I could see each of them taking their turns as the All Star, but what are the chances Hosmer can have a better season than any of Pujols. Fielder, Teixeira, Cabrera, and Gonzalez over the next 5 seasons?