No. 5: Eric Hosmer, Kansas City Royals
Jun 17, 2014; Detroit, MI, USA; Kansas City Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer (35) at bat against the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
Eric Hosmer is still young and, at 25 years old, he is certainly capable of quickly ascending toward the top of this list. He demonstrated an ability to hit for both average (.302) and power (17 home runs) in 2013 before watching his numbers dwindle last season.
But the progression of young athletes in baseball is oftentimes not linear.
In a rather pedestrian season, Hosmer still batted .270 and hit a career-high 35 doubles. But he failed to eclipse the double-digit mark in home runs and contributed a career-low 58 RBIs.
The biggest difference over the last two seasons was Hosmer’s performance at home in Kansas City. He hit just .219 in Kauffman Stadium last season, hovering closer to the Mendoza line at different points in the season. By comparison, Hosmer was a consistent .299 hitter on his home field in the year prior.
In positive news, Hosmer crept closer to the .300 mark toward the second half of the season, hitting .366 in July and .290 in September. Hosmer then helped carry the load in the postseason, torturing opposing pitchers with a .351 batting average to go along with 12 RBIs and eight runs scored.
When it was all said and done, Hosmer was a cog in the Royals’ machine that surprised the baseball world on their way to the World Series last season. That is more than the other names on this list can say, but it still does not make up for a full season of mediocrity.
But, as I mentioned, he is still young and there is room for a rapid ascension up this ranking if he puts together a season that more closely reflects his 2013 campaign.
Next: No. 4