Kansas City, Mo. — Finding themselves competing for the first time in years, the Kansas City Royals have decided to hurry their top prospect to the big leagues ahead of schedule.
Minutes after beating Baltimore, 9-1, on Thursday behind Melky Cabrera’s four RBIs and Bruce Chen’s strong pitching, the Royals announced Eric Hosmer was being called up from Triple-A Omaha and would start tonight against Oakland. Struggling Kila Ka’aihue goes back to Omaha.
The announcement is certain to boost attendance tonight. The 21-year-old Hosmer is Kansas City’s most heralded prospect since Alex Gordon was the overall No. 2 pick in 2005.
He’s also one of many young players that have made the Royals’ minor league system the envy of most major league organizations.
“We wanted to wait and give him about 200 at-bats and let him get his feet on the ground,” manager Ned Yost said. “But we’re playing pretty good baseball and we need some production out of that first-base spot.”
At Omaha, Hosmer was batting .439 with three homers and 15 RBIs. He was K.C.’s first-round pick in 2008 and has overmatched the pitching at every minor league level.
Yost agreed that one reason the Royals are bringing Hosmer up sooner than planned was because the Royals, 17-14 and second in the AL Central behind Cleveland, are contending. They need a boost at first base, where Ka’aihue was hitting .195 with two home runs and six RBIs.
“That’s the general consensus, yeah. I don’t want to say we’re playing better than we anticipated because we came into this thing anticipating playing pretty well,” Yost said. “The kid’s producing there. He’s in a league of his own.”