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The Royals have promoted Eric Hosmer


The Royals stand at 17-14 and occupy second place in the American League Central. They’ve done that while having a first baseman getting on-base at a .295 clip. To try and fill that void, the Royals have promoted top prospect Eric Hosmer from Omaha and optioned Kila Ka’aihue. The big athletic first baseman has been annihilating triple-A pitching for the first month of the season as he’s currently hitting .439/.525/.582 in his first 98 at bats.

The timing of the move is certainly surprising. Kila Ka’ihue was struggling at the plate, but he hit well in his last few games. He’s only been to the plate 96 times this season, which is hardly enough to tell you anything about a player. I’ve been asked a lot lately what I think the Royals should do with Kila, and I’ve been a staunch proponent of giving him more time to prove himself. Lots of great Major Leaguers including some Hall-of-Famers have had terrible starts to their career. A month just isn’t enough to make a judgment. But then the same logic applies for Hosmer – he’s clearly not going to hit .439 for the entire year.

The interesting thing about the move is what it says about the organization and their philosophy. Nobody is surprised that Eric Hosmer is viewed as the future first baseman. What’s shocking is how little time they committed to Kila. Either the Royals have a much smaller sample of games that they think is necessary to evaluate a player or they just viewed him as filler until Hosmer was ready. Since they’ve given so much time to guys like Kyle Davies and Alex Gordon, the latter seems the most likely scenario.

I don’t believe the Royals were in any way hoping for Kila to fail, nor did they think he was destined to fail. Had Kila been successful in his short stint this season, I am certain that he would still be in Kansas City, regardless of how well Eric Hosmer was hitting.

The situation was compounded by the fact that the Royals are in striking distance of first place. My prediction was that the Royals would wait until the All-Star break to decide they were contenders, but in reality they acted much quicker. This move signals that the organization believes this year’s team can stay in contention.

While what’s going on at the top of the division is important, what’s happening at the bottom of the standings may be the deciding factor. Any great team or athlete knows that when their opponent is staggering, it’s time to step on their throat. The Royals might see the Twins, White Sox and even Tigers, as wobbly boxers and Eric Hosmer as the haymaker that can put them on the canvas.

Eric Hosmer is just 21 years old and has only played a month above the double-A level. He’s not going to be able to play the role of haymaker all by himself and luckily, the way the team is hitting right now, he won’t have to. He’ll face a lot of scrutiny and big expectations that come with playing at the highest level, but from everything I know about Hosmer, he’s ready for it.

Regarding the timing, the move was made late enough that this year won’t count as a full season towards Hosmer’s free agency. However, if he remains with the club for the remainder of the season he will likely be eligible for a 4th year of arbitration under the “super two” rule. Translation -- the Royals will likely be spending roughly $10m more dollars on Hosmer before he is a free agent. It signals an organization willing to part with money if they think it benefits the team.

Even though it’s a little early to promote Hosmer, I’m extremely excited for the promotion. I’ve said all along that he probably makes the team better as soon as he’s called up. As for Kila his next shot at the Big Leagues will likely come in another uniform.

In the end, I’m conflicted. Snap judgments on players after a month are something smart baseball teams shouldn’t make a habit of doing. However, it’s promising to see the team make a move they believe in, regardless of the financial implication. The Royals rightfully believe the young prospects of the future will help this team win pennants, and the future starts now.

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Nick Scott is a contributor to Royals Authority and is the host of the Broken Bat Single Royals podcast, you can follow him on Twitter or on Facebook.


Steve Jacob 4 years, 5 months ago

Aaron Crow probably came up too early also, and look what happened. I know you have faith in Kila, but .439 is just too good to leave down. But look the bright side, the normal Royals teams would wait Kila out because they had no opinions and could afford to lose games.

Nick Scott 4 years, 5 months ago

I was completely fine with the Aaron crow move. I think we all need to realize though that a month is a very short time in baseball terms. I'm not completely against the move. I'm rather excited, but small sample sizes can fool people into lots of things.

It's interesting and it will be exciting. I can't wait to see Hosmer.

riverdrifter 4 years, 5 months ago

Hosmer has been putting up softba-esque numbers at Omaha. Enough. Put him out there. Wasting time in Omaha.

riverdrifter 4 years, 5 months ago

Er, 'softball-esque' is what I meant to say. Anyway, turn him loose!

kujhawkfan 4 years, 5 months ago

This wasn't Kila's first shot to prove himself, this was his last shot! He was given a shot last year playing in 52 games and he battted .217. The Royals are loaded with 1st basemen and DH types with Billy Butler, Hosmer, and Clint Robinson. Kila has been given a shot the last two years to show something and he has disappointed. If Kila wants another shot in KC, he will have to learn to play right field because he has no chance of ever being a 1st baseman or DH with Hosmer, Butler, and Robinson around.

Nick Scott 4 years, 5 months ago

I know, I know. Everybody thinks that we've seen enough to evaluate Kila at the big league level. However, baseball is littered with guys who did worse than kila for longer and went on to have great careers.

I'm not against the move, but anyone saying that we know what Kila is, I think is wrong.

PJ Karasek 4 years, 5 months ago

Hard not to remember Alex Gordon here as far as getting called up quickly is concerned. A year ago Hosmer was in High A ball. I agree that he's absolutely raking in AAA this year, and I'm certainly not against his call-up, I just have to temper my excitement for the Royals youth movement by remembering that the "savior" Alex Gordon didn't exactly come right up and dominate. The way I see it this just gives him some plate appearances before next year when the youth movement starts paying off.

Nick Scott 4 years, 5 months ago

That's exactly right. I think that it's ok to believe it was right to promote hosmer, but wrong to give up on kila. Unfortunately there is only one spot and hosmer was going to win at some point.

Steve Jacob 4 years, 5 months ago

KC Star has it right on, this move shows the Royals front office thinks they can contend this year. Look at the AL, other then the Indians, nobody is more then five games over .500. You might as well try, KC would have money to rent-a-player at the trade deadline.

Nick Scott 4 years, 5 months ago

Hey, I said the same thing in my article too!

camper 4 years, 5 months ago

I think the Royals should try to contend for sure.

I am quietly becoming impressed with Sullivan as a starting pitcher. Usually when you are in contention, you get a bonus from one or two starters who you did not expect. Sullivan could be a bonus. I kind of like his mound presence.

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