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Entries in Eric Hosmer (3)


Solving Breaking Stuff Key to Breakout for Hosmer, Moustakas

With Wil Myers headed to Tampa as part of the gargantuan bounty paid for James Shields, Eric Hosmer and Mike Moustakas will be subject to even more scrutiny from Royals fans. Kansas City's cornerstone corner infielders, both former top ten prospects as rated by Baseball America, are coming off disappointing sophomore seasons. Hosmer didn't have many bounces go his way (his batting average on balls in play was just .255), but his slugging percentage dipped by over 100 points from 2011 (.465) to 2012 (.359). Moustakas, meanwhile, hit 20 homers but did so with a sub-.300 on-base percentage (.296).

For Hosmer and Moustakas to have breakout seasons, they'll first have to solve breaking stuff. Both struggled mightily against curveballs and sliders in 2012, with Hosmer posting the seventh-lowest slugging percentage (.233) among qualified hitters and Moustakas (.313) also doing far less damage than the league average (.357). Hosmer has to start lofting breaking stuff, while Moustakas has to stop lunging at it.

Check out Hosmer's ground ball rate by pitch location against breaking pitches, compared to the league average:

Hosmer's ground ball rate vs. curves and sliders


League average ground ball rate vs. curves and sliders

Hosmer hit a grounder about 57% of the time last year, way above the 47% major league average. Here are some of the players who hit grounders on breaking stuff about as often as Hosmer: Nyjer Morgan, Jose Tabata, Juan Pierre and Brian Bogusevic. Power hitters, those fellows are not.

While Hosmer hits too many choppers, Moustakas chases too many breaking pitches off the plate. Here's his swing rate by pitch location against curves and sliders, and then the league average:

Moustakas' swing rate vs. curves and sliders


League average swing rate vs. curves and sliders

Moustakas chased about 39% of breaking pitches thrown outside of the strike zone, compared to the 32% big league average. Perhaps recognizing his breaking ball giddiness, pitchers threw him a curve or slider over the plate just 41% of the time (46% MLB average).

Hosmer (entering his age-23 season) and Moustakas (24) both have youth on their side. But now that the Royals have decided that six years of potential superstar production from Myers is worth giving up for two years of Shields, K.C.'s corner infielders are under even more pressure to produce. Their performance against breaking stuff will be crucial during a make-or-break 2013 season.


Nine to Know: The AL Postseason Watch

  1. Adrian Beltre hit a tiebreaking two-run 9th inning homer off Angels closer closer Ernesto Frieri as the Rangers topped the Angels, 3-1, and got the fat lady starting to warm up her voice for the Halos this season.Since the All Star break, Beltre has hit 19 homers in 62 games
  2. Texas  is now 89-60 and the Angels  are now 81-69 and 4.5 games behind the A’s (85-64) who are 4 games behind Texas after clobbering Detroit (79-70), 12-4.
  3. The A’s got bad news when they found that pitcher Brett Anderson will miss the rest of the season, due to an oblique injury.
  4. The Tigers did not lose ground in the AL Central as the division leading White Sox (81-68) lost to the Royals, 4-3, on an Eric Hosmer walkoff single. The ChiSox have a 2 game lead in the division despite going 6-12 against the Royals this year.
  5. The Yankees (86-63) increased their AL East lead to a full game by winning their fifth in a row as Nick Swisher  grand slammed and Ichiro Suzuki was simply grand again in a 10-7 win over the increasingly blue Jays.Ichiro in three games against Toronto
  6. In the sweep of Toronto, Ichiro was 9 for 12 with three doubles, a homer, four RBI and four steals. He’s now hitting .321 as a Yankee including batting .362 against lefties. The Yanks matched their season high of 23 games over .500.
  7. The Yankees lead the AL East by one over Baltimore (85-64) who were idle yesterday and by 6.5 over Tampa (80-70) who scored six in the bottom of the 9th including a three-run walkoff homer by B.J. Upton to top the pitiful Red Sox, 7-4.
  8. By splitting the four games with Boston, Tampa Bay remained 5.5 games back of Oakland and Baltimore who are tied for the two AL wild-card slots.
  9. Walkoffs:
  • The A’s now have 13 walkoff wins and four walkoff losses.
  • The Orioles now have seven walkoff wins and no walkoff losses.
  • The Rays now have seven walkoff wins and six walkoff losses.
  • The Tigers now have seven walkoff wins and seven walkoff losses.
  • The White Sox now have seven walkoff wins and seven walkoff losses.
  • The Rangers now have five walkoff wins and five walkoff losses.
  • The Angels now have four walkoff wins and six walkoff losses.
  • The Yankees now have two walkoff wins and six walkoff losses.

A Quick Look at Eric Hosmer

The Kansas City Royals called up Eric Hosmer (KCA) when Kila Ka'aihua (KCA) failed to hit in the majors this year.  Hosmer is off to a good start.  While his batting average isn't high at .242, he draws enough walks for a .333 OBP and slugs .515.

So far, pitchers work him outside:

Eric Hosmer, pitch frequency, 2011.They may not be working him far enough outside, however, as he owns the middle of the strike zone.

Eric Hosmer, in play batting average, 2011.Note his ability to hit the low pitch as well.  Eric smashes those for line drives with a higher frequency than balls in the middle of the plate.  Pitchers have another advantage going outside:

Eric Hosmer, called strike rate on taken pitches, 2011.Hosmer has shown good strike zone judgement.  He gets the calls at the top and bottom of the strike zone, but so far the outside edge belongs to the pitcher.  That's a bit unfair to the rookie.  He struck out three times on those outside strikes.  With his low number of at bats, it's one reason his batting average is low.  I hope the Royals encourage him to keep taking those pitches.  Eventually he'll get the calls, and pitchers will be forced into the strike zone where he can smack the ball.