06/06/08 6:06 PM EST
Reality sinking in for Royals' top pick
Hosmer reflects on the excitement of being drafted
By Mark Dent / MLB.com
Sitting in his living room in Cooper City, Fla., he heard yells from the adjoining room and couldn't understand why. Hosmer figured they showed his picture on ESPN.
Actually, the Royals had just selected him third overall in the 2008 First-Year Player Draft. The high-def TV in Hosmer's living room was delayed. Thirty seconds later, he finally realized what happened.
And he went crazy, too.
"[ESPN reporter] Tim Kurkjian asked for an interview," Hosmer said, "and I couldn't hear. It was kind of like a dogpile. I hugged my mom, dad and brother."
A day after Kansas City selected him, Hosmer talked to Kansas City media for the first time Friday, and the feeling that he was a Major League Draft pick finally started to sink in.
It sure didn't on Thursday. That day was a blur. From the party and dog-piling to a celebratory dinner of mom, Illeana's, best Cuban cooking, it seemed more like a dream.
On Friday morning, Hosmer started to realize it was reality. He thought about his new life while driving over to a friend's house. Hosmer had been reminded that it all happened when he saw a picture of his Draft party on the front page of an area newspaper.
The Royals are sure glad they made the selection. Hosmer, a lefty first baseman out of American Heritage High School in Plantation, Fla., could become a successful power hitter in the Majors. This season, he batted .470 with 11 home runs and 27 RBIs, 49 runs and 14 steals.
Royals general manager Dayton Moore believes Hosmer could be an impact player for years to come.
Royals' top five selections
|3.||1B||Eric Hosmer||American Heritage Sch. (Fla.)|
|36.||LHP||Michael Montgomery||Hart HS (Calif.)|
|49.||2B||Johnny Giavotella||U of New Orleans|
|80.||RHP||Tyler Sample||J.K. Mullen Prep|
|115.||RHP||Timothy Melville||Wentzville Holt HS (Mo.)|
|Complete Royals Draft results >|
"You take the talent that you believe is going to impact your baseball team the greatest when he arrives in Kansas City," Moore said. "We need guys that are future stars on that diamond if we're going to win a World Series. We think Eric has the type of potential to be that type of guy."
It seems Hosmer already has a strong work ethic. When he was young, Hosmer described himself as chunky. He could hit the ball, but he didn't have true power.
In high school, Hosmer started working out with Scott Forseman, an assistant coach. Forseman gave him a strict diet and workout regimen. Hosmer hit the weights routinely and started eating mainly chicken, steaks, protein shakes and protein bars.
He's chunky no more. Hosmer is 6-foot-4, 215 pounds and can mash the ball.
"With my game, you can always increase your power," he said. "At the end of this season, I felt like I did at the beginning. It was the best I felt."
The next two months could be long and arduous for Hosmer and the Royals as they try to negotiate a deal. Agent Scott Boras represents Hosmer, and his clients have been historically known for long holdouts and large signing bonuses. Kansas City's previous two first-round picks, Luke Hochevar and Mike Moustakas, were also Boras clients.
The Royals signed Hochevar right away. Moustakas didn't get inked until 15 minutes before the signing deadline. Moore and Hosmer likely don't want to wait that long this year.
Still, odds are Hosmer and Boras will want a large signing bonus. Hosmer can take a deal with the Royals or play college ball at Arizona State, where he'd major in sports management.
On Friday, however, Hosmer didn't want to talk about any of the business stuff. He's a high school kid, beaming from his big day and getting ready to road trip with some friends to Atlanta.
"I'm still just getting over [Thursday]," he said.
Mark Dent is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.