The first baseman crushed the pitching in Arizona - hitting .407 with 13 of his 33 hits going for extra bases. Then the scores started counting, and Hosmer hasn't hit his weight (230 pounds) since the fifth game of the season. Last night, he went 1-for-5, and it raised his average to .180. We're exactly a fifth of the way through the season. His hair has grown back, but Kansas City fans are still waiting on Hosmer to hit.
Nobody wants to talk about Hosmer throwing his bat in disgust after striking out against the White Sox on Saturday night with the bases loaded. Nobody wants to talk about manager Ned Yost's decision to drop him to sixth in the lineup for the past two days. And nobody certainly wants to talk about .180.
Because nobody wants to turn on the guy who seemed like he might be a sure thing heading into this season. We don't want to jinx this no-hitter. A little over a month ago, The New York Times suggested that he "was the brightest hope for a franchise searching for a savior." It's always been a question of if the Royals could sign Hosmer, rather than should they sign him.
If you want to find hope, it's that even with his struggles at the plate, he's on pace to hit 25 home runs and drive in 80 RBIs. This is not like trying to come to grips with Albert Pujols' sudden lack of power or discerning eye. Hosmer's strikeout rate hasn't increased while his walk rate is higher, and (before yesterday) he currently has the Major League's worst average for balls hit in play (.168) - a stat (depending on which stat geek you ask) that means he's either unlucky or hasn't figured out the shift being used against him.
Royals fans shouldn't ignore Hosmer's struggles, just as they shouldn't call for his demotion to Triple A. But part of rooting for a franchise is holding the future stars responsible for their current performance.