Royals’ Eric Hosmer finds consistent hitting in constant adjustments
04/06/2014 2:10 PM
04/06/2014 2:28 PM
On May 5, 2011, the Royals summoned a 21-year-old, left-handed hitting prospect from Triple-A Omaha and asked him to breathe some life into their lineup.
Three years later, no longer the impressionable rookie he was then, Eric Hosmer has encountered most of what Major League Baseball has to offer.
The highs. The lows. The proverbial sophomore slump.
But in his fourth season with the Royals, his venture for consistency is nearing form.
Hosmer enjoyed the best season of his young career in 2013, fueled by a post-all-star break hot streak that never lost its flame. Hosmer batted .323 or better in each of last season’s final three months. Somewhere within the course of that consistent success, Hosmer says he found a key to hitting the world's best pitching.
"You have to constantly adjust every at-bat. That's what makes a good hitter a good hitter — the ability to notice what he's got to adjust and how to fix what he's doing at the plate," Hosmer said. "That's comes with experience. I've learned that, as a hitter, you have to make adjustments pitch-to-pitch."
The back end of the 2013 season has added a comfort level to Hosmer's approach at the plate — one he never found during his forgettable second season in the big leagues, during which he batted only .232.
As he tries to duplicate last summer's prosperity, Hosmer has five hits in his first 14 at-bats this season entering Sunday, including a pair of doubles.
Success, he hopes, indeed breeds success.
"It definitely makes you a lot more confident in the way you go about your business," Hosmer said. "I think every player figures himself out. I've learned how to prepare for a game. I've learned what my routine needs to be to get ready for the game. I think that all comes with experience."
The Royals are certainly counting on Hosmer to be more of a sure thing as opposed to the question mark he was two seasons ago.
He's the team's top power-hitting option from the left side of the plate and an easy choice, at least in manager Ned Yost's mind, for the everyday No. 3 hitter.
It's a spot in the lineup in which Hosmer has grown to thrive. He hit for a .322 average while occupying the third spot in the lineup last season.
A year later, Hosmer expects a similar average to produce more runs. The Royals have added Nori Aoki and Omar Infante to the top of their lineup.
"It's a good spot to hit in. I got two guys at the top of the lineup that are two of the best guys at setting the table," Hosmer said. "We have plenty of guys behind me that have the ability to drive the ball and put plenty of protection behind me.
"For me, I'm in a great spot. I know, every situation going up there, I have a good idea of what my role is and what I need to do."