Everybody knows by now that the Royals have baseball's most promising farm system, but the big league club entered the 2011 season without much promise at all. The starting rotation looked sketchy, the lineup seemed to lack power bats, and the bullpen appeared to be far from flush with reliable arms.
But here we are on May 6 and the Royals are sporting an impressive 17-14 record, good enough for second place in the American League Central standings.
They have no plans of rolling over or looking for moral victories in the hot start.
On Thursday evening it was announced that top prospect Eric Hosmer
will be called up to the major leagues and used as the team's regular first baseman beginning Friday night against the Athletics. Many experts believed that the Royals wouldn't begin promoting their many top prospects until the middle of this summer, or even 2012, but the Kansas City front office has decided to go all in this season.
Hosmer, the third overall pick from the 2008 MLB Amateur Draft, posted a .439 batting average, .525 on-base percentage and .582 slugging percentage over his first 118 plate appearances this year at Triple-A Omaha. He homered three times and tallied 15 RBI in 26 games. The 21-year-old is ready to rake and ready to establish himself as a quality fantasy option at first base, where big-time production is always expected. He needs to be owned in mixed leagues.
Let's get to some other news from around the baseball world...
* Cardinals outfielder Lance Berkman
continued his stunning hot streak on Thursday afternoon against the Marlins, driving in four runs and homering in a 6-3 victory. The 35-year-old now has a whopping 10 home runs and 32 RBI through 29 games and can boast a loaded .392/.462/.775 batting line. Concerns remain about his ability to keep his legs healthy all season while making regular starts in right field, but he's been moving fairly well to this point and has already matched his total WAR from 2010.
* White Sox starter Jake Peavy
allowed five runs Thursday in a seven-inning rehab start at Triple-A Charlotte, but it sounds like he's going to be cleared to make his 2011 regular season debut next week anyway. Those five runs were all tacked on in the third inning of Peavy's minor league outing and he was absolutely flawless in the other frames. It's hard to guess how he might fare in his first couple of starts in the big leagues after such a long absence from the high level of competition, but he should be on fantasy rosters just in case his old ace-like form suddenly returns.
* Good news has finally arrived for patient Chase Utley
owners. According to Jim Salisbury of CSN Philly
, the second baseman will head to Clearwater, Florida on Friday to begin playing in extended spring training games. If all goes well, he should advance to the Florida State League within a week. Then the majors will be in his sights. Utley is aiming to return to the Philadelphia starting lineup by the end of this month and is right on track to this point.National League Quick Hits:
The Astros placed Brandon Lyon
on the disabled list with a partially torn rotator cuff and will use Mark Melancon
in the ninth inning for the time being … Nyjer Morgan
broke a finger Thursday while trying to bunt and could miss up to a month ... Albert Pujols
went 3-for-3 with a walk Thursday against the Marlins … An MRI taken Thursday on Jonathan Broxton
's injured elbow revealed bruising and a bone spur … Homer Bailey
allowed one run over six innings and struck out seven Thursday in his 2011 debut … Mets outfielder Angel Pagan
went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts Thursday in a rehab game at Single-A Port St. Lucie … Stephen Drew
returned from his mild groin injury Thursday night … Russ Adams
has retired from baseball … The Mets signed reliever Brian Sweeney
to a minor league contract … Josh Collmenter
is expected to take the vacant spot in the Diamondbacks' starting rotation … Cubs starter Doug Davis
threw 6 2/3 scoreless innings Thursday in a minor league start at Single-A Daytona … Rick Ankiel
remains day-to-day with a jammed right wrist … Eduardo Sanchez
earned his third save of the season Thursday for the Cardinals … Giants manager Bruce Bochy said Thursday that Jonathan Sanchez
is having focus issues … Carlos Lee
was held out Thursday with bruised ribs … Freddy Sanchez
is day-to-day with a sore right thumb.American League Quick Hits:
The Rangers are hoping that Nelson Cruz
will be ready to return from his minor quad injury on Saturday … Eric Chavez
has been placed on the disabled list with a broken little toe … Orioles shortstop prospect Manny Machado
was lifted early from a game at Single-A Delmarva on Thursday because of a knee injury … Jose Bautista
is expected to return to the Blue Jays' starting lineup on Sunday … The Yankees are likely to recall infielder Ramiro Pena
before Friday's game … Melky Cabrera
drove in four runs Thursday in Kansas City's defeat of Oakland … Bobby Jenks
underwent an MRI Thursday on his right biceps that showed no structural damage … The Royals transferred catcher Jason Kendall
to the 60-day disabled list … Brett Anderson
lasted nine innings Thursday against the Indians but was left with a no-decision … Chone Figgins
is day-to-day with a flu-like illness … The Red Sox will recall Alfredo Aceves
before Friday's game to serve as a middle reliever … Rene Rivera
has been added to the Twins' 25-man roster and will act as Drew Butera
's backup … The Rays are likely to place Jeff Niemann
on the disabled list within the next few days with a back strain … Eduardo Nunez
made two errors Thursday while filling in at shortstop for Derek Jeter
… The Red Sox have pushed Daisuke Matsuzaka
's next start to Sunday because he made a relief appearance Wednesday night.