2014 NATIONAL BASEBALL ARBITRATION COMPETITION ERIC HOSMER V. KANSAS CITY ROYALS (MLB) SUBMISSION ON BEHALF OF THE CLUB KANSAS CITY ROYALS

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1 2014 NATIONAL BASEBALL ARBITRATION COMPETITION ERIC HOSMER V. KANSAS CITY ROYALS (MLB) SUBMISSION ON BEHALF OF THE CLUB KANSAS CITY ROYALS Player Demand: $4.00 Million Club Offer: $3.30 Million Midpoint: $3.65 Million Submitted by: Team 12

2 TABLE OF CONTENTS I. INTRODUCTION TO THE ARBITRATION HEARING BETWEEN THE KANSAS CITY ROYALS AND ERIC HOSMER, FIRST BASEMAN 1 II. REQUEST FOR A HEARING DECISION IN FAVOR OF THE CLUB 1 A. Quality of Eric Hosmer s Contribution During the Past Season 2 B. Length and Consistency of Eric Hosmer s Career Contribution 3 C. The Comparative Baseball Salaries of Eric Hosmer to Prior First-Year Arbitration Eligible Players 6 1. Shin-Soo Choo - $3,975, Jason Heyward- $3,650, James Loney - $3,100,000 9 III. CONCLUSION AND REQUEST FOR A HEARING DECISION 10 TABLE OF AUTHORITIES Baseball-Reference, Collective Bargaining Agreement, Cots Baseball Contracts (Baseball Prospectus), ESPN, Fan-Graphs, Los Angeles Times,

3 I. INTRODUCTION TO THE ARBITRATION HEARING BETWEEN THE KANSAS CITY ROYALS AND ERIC HOSMER, FIRST BASEMAN This brief analyzes the statistics, attributes, salaries, comparative salaries, and additional factors regarding the playing career of Eric Hosmer (the player or Hosmer ), first baseman with the Kansas City Royals (the club or the Royals ) in order to settle salary differences for the upcoming 2014 season. The Major League Baseball ( MLB ) Collective Bargaining Agreement ( CBA ) between the Major League Baseball Players Association ( MLBPA ) and the thirty MLB Clubs lays out guidelines for an arbitration hearing. Hosmer was selected in the first round of the 2006 MLB Amateur Draft by the Kansas City Royals. 1 Hosmer made his MLB debut on May 6, 2011 against the Oakland Athletics and he has since accumulated years of Major League Service ( MLS ) time, making him arbitration eligible as a Super-Two player for the 2014 MLB season. 2 The Club respectfully requests that the arbitration committee consider the evidence contained in this brief in finding that a salary award of $3.3 million is the appropriate compensation for the 2014 MLB season. II. REQUEST FOR A HEARING DECISION IN FAVOR OF THE CLUB The criterion for the arbitration hearing between Hosmer and the Royals is set by the Collective Bargaining Agreement ( CBA ) between the Clubs and MLBPA. Under Section VI, Part E(10)(a)-(b) of the CBA, certain areas of Hosmer s MLB time are considered for purposes of this hearing: (1 hereafter A ) the quality of Hosmer s contribution to the Royals during the past season (i.e., platform year), including, but not limited to, his overall performance, special qualities of leadership, and public appeal; (2 hereafter B ) the length and consistency of his career contributions; (3) his past recorded compensation figures; (4 hereafter C ) comparative baseball salaries; (5) the 1 2 1

4 existence of any mental or physical defects; and (6) the recent performance record of the Club, including its League standing and attendance. 3 Based on the above criteria from the CBA, the club s offer of $3.3 million is appropriate considering: (A) the quality of Hosmer s contribution during the past season; (B) the length and consistency of Hosmer s career contributions; and (C) comparative baseball salaries of prior first time arbitration eligible players including Shin-Soo Choo, Jason Heyward, and James Loney. A. Quality of Eric Hosmer s Contribution during the Past Season Figure 1 Eric Hosmer Platform Year Hitting Statistics 4 Year Age G PA R H XBH HR RBI SB BA OPB SLG OPS After a disappointing 2012 sophomore season, Hosmer produced impressive numbers during his 2013 platform season (See Figure 1), earning an American League ( AL ) Gold Glove award and setting career highs in games played, runs, hits, batting average, and RBI. 5 However, even with career high numbers in several categories, Hosmer s lack of power and his inability to drive in more runs limits his overall value to the club, especially in comparison to other first basemen in MLB. Corner infielders are traditionally power hitters who bat in the middle to bottom of the order and are expected to drive in runners on base, specifically with extra base hits and homeruns. The Royals lacked such a power presence in 2013, as no player on the club hit more than 20 homeruns or drove in more than 82 RBI; yet surprisingly, the Club finished 10 games above.500 despite hitting the fewest homeruns of any team in the AL. 6 Hosmer s hit total in 2013 ranked first amongst all MLB first basemen and his batting average ranked 20 th overall in MLB. 7 Still, even with a top-20 league batting average, Hosmer 3 MLB Basic Agreement, Kansas City Royals, Baseball-Reference, 7 MLB Player Batting Stats 2013, ESPN, 2

5 ranked only sixth out of 25 qualified MLB first basemen (players with 502 or more PA over the season), placing him outside of the top 20% at the position (See Figure 2). 8 Figure 2 Eric Hosmer 2013 Hitting Statistics Rank [1 st -25 th ] v. MLB Qualified 1B 9 Year G PA R H HR RBI BA OPB SLG OPS 2013 T-6 th 5 th 6 th 1 st T-19 th 13 th 6 th 12 th 16 th 14 th In sharp contrast, Hosmer s homerun total (17) was well below the MLB league average, placing him 83 rd out of 140 qualified MLB players in Out of the 25 qualified firstbaseman, only four players had a fewer homerun total than Hosmer. 11 In addition, Hosmer s RBI total (79), slugging percentage (.448), and OPS (.801) last season all fell in the bottom 50% of only the qualified MLB first basemen, ranking 13 th, 16 th and 14 th respectively. 12 In 146 at-bats with runners in scoring position, Hosmer amassed only 34 hits (.266 AVG), driving in 52 RBI. 13 Furthermore, in 62 at-bats with runners in scoring position and two outs, Hosmer collected only 12 hits (.190 AVG) tallying only 17 RBI. 14 While Hosmer had an impressive platform season, he failed to drive in 80 runs for the third consecutive year and did not demonstrate the projectable ability to hit with the level of power and productivity traditionally expected from an elite middle-of-the-order first baseman. 15 Therefore, the club s salary offer of $3.3 million is reasonable considering Hosmer s valuable but limited offensive production to date. B. Length and Consistency of Eric Hosmer s Career Contributions Hosmer s year-by-year production has been relatively inconsistent over his brief career. He began his career with a promising rookie campaign, only to follow with a significantly less 8 MLB Player Batting Stats 2013, ESPN, ; MLB Player Batting Stats 2013, ESPN, 11 MLB Player Batting Stats 2013, ESPN, Eric Hosmer 2013 Batting Splits, Baseball-Reference,

6 productive sophomore season in 2012 (See Figure 3 below). 16 Hosmer was encouraging with a 2013 platform season more similar to his rookie year with slight improvement across the board in most statistical categories. 17 But while Hosmer s most recent season may have helped towards proving that his 2011 offensive numbers are more indicative of his future production and ability, it failed to demonstrate whether Hosmer s future value and potential offensive ceiling projects any higher than that which he produced in Figure 3 Eric Hosmer Career Hitting Statistics 18 Year Club Age G PA R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BA OBP SLG OPS 2011 KCR KCR KCR Yrs Game Average Hosmer was called up in May of the 2011 regular season and has since consistently stayed healthy on the field. 19 However, as far as the consistency of his career production goes, aside from games played and plate appearances, Hosmer has not improved in any single offensive category in consecutive seasons thus far in his career. 20 Hosmer s 2012 batting average (.232) was 61 points lower than 2011, and ranked 130 th out of all 143 qualified players in MLB that year. 21 With 35 more plate appearances in 2012, Hosmer scored less runs, recorded 29 fewer hits, had 11 fewer extra base hits, hit 5 less homeruns, and drove in 18 fewer RBI than in In addition, Hosmer s 2012 slugging percentage (.359) and OPS (.663) was the second worst of all qualified first basemen that year Eric Hosmer 2011 Game Log, Baseball-Reference, ; MLB Player Statistics 2013, ESPN, MLB Player Statistics 2013, ESPN, 4

7 Hosmer s 2012 Wins Above Replacement rating ( WAR ), of -1.7, was the third worst of all qualified players in MLB (138 th of 140), and worst of all qualified first basemen. 24 Figure 3 Eric Hosmer Career Hitting Statistics (2012 Omitted) 25 Year G PA R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BA OBP SLG OPS Difference / Comparing Hosmer s platform year to his rookie year (2012 omitted), the statistical progress shows only a slight improvement, if any at all, between his first season and his most recent campaign (See Figure 3). Furthermore, when comparing the numbers on a per-plate appearance basis, Hosmer averaged fewer extra base hits, homeruns and RBI per plate appearance than he did in 2011 (See Figure 4) Figure 4 - Eric Hosmer Statistics Per 100 Plate Appearances 2011 v Year R H XBH HR RBI The bounce back was encouraging to the extent that Hosmer helped proved his paltry 2012 numbers may have been anomalous, but even still, Hosmer has yet to show in any season that he has the projectable ability to produce the power and RBI totals typically expected from a middle of the order first baseman. 27 He has never hit 20 homeruns or recorded 80 RBIs in any season, and his most recent productivity rates do not indicate significant future progression. Due to Hosmer s inconsistent year-by-year productivity throughout his career and his inability to demonstrate progressive improvement showing higher projectable power, specifically with regard to extra base hits, homeruns, and RBI, the team offer of $3.3 million is appropriate. / / MLB Player Statistics 2013, ESPN, Traditionally Power Hitters, Los Angeles Times, 5

8 C. The Comparative Baseball Salaries of Eric Hosmer to his Service Class and Prior Arbitration Eligible Players. 1. Shin-Soo Choo (3.119 MLS) $3.975 million Figure 5 Eric Hosmer v. Shin-Soo Choo Split G PA R H 2B/3B HR RBI SB BA OBP SLG OPS WAR Eric Hosmer / Platform / Career / Shin-Soo Choo / Platform / Career / Shin-Soo Choo ( Choo ) of the Cleveland Indians ( Indians ) was first time arbitrationeligible leading up to the 2011 season. Based on his performance through 2010, Choo agreed to a one-year salary of $3.975 million to avoid arbitration. 30 As his salary figure is close to the player s offer of $4.0 million, Choo is an example of the performance Hosmer would need to have accomplished in order merit that salary demand. But in contrast to Hosmer, Choo earned his salary figure by exhibiting a level of consistency in two consecutive seasons leading up to his first year of arbitration eligibility, and by producing legitimate five-tool all-around offensive statistics that Hosmer has not been able to achieve in his career. Choo out-produced Hosmer in nearly every career offensive category, and is simply a more valuable all-around player. While both have shown they can hit for over a.300 batting average in a full season, Choo did so consecutively in both his platform season and the year prior. 31 Furthermore, Choo entered into his first year of arbitration eligibility with a career batting average (.297) 20 points higher than Hosmer s current career batting average (.277) Shin-Soo Choo Statistics. Baseball-Reference, 30 Cleveland Indians, Cot s Baseball Contracts, 31 Shin-Soo Choo Statistics. Baseball-Reference, 32 ; 6

9 In addition, Choo displayed exceptional plate discipline and legitimate power numbers that Hosmer has yet to accomplish. 33 Choo totaled 105 more walks than Hosmer through his platform season; his career average slash line of.297/.391/.488 is substantially greater than Hosmer s career slash of.277/.332/.425, and his career OPS of.880 is an overwhelming 124 points higher than Hosmer s.756 career mark. 34 Furthermore, Choo exhibited superior power and speed on top of his exceptional batting average and on-base percentage. While Hosmer has never hit 20 homeruns in a season, stolen more than 16 bases, or hit 80 RBI, Choo recorded back-to-back 20/20 seasons leading into his first year of arbitration. 35 In addition, Choo had greater than 86 RBI in consecutive seasons (90 in platform), and with only 60 more career plate appearances, Choo hit 41 more extra base hits than Hosmer, drove in 53 more RBI, hit 9 more home runs, and stole 14 more bases. 36 Since Hosmer has not exhibited near the same level of performance or consistency, and is not as productive or valuable an all-around offensive player as Choo is, he deserves an arbitration award well below Choo s salary figure of $3.975 million. 2. Jason Heyward (3.000 MLS) $3.65 million Figure 6 Eric Hosmer v. Jason Heyward Split Age G PA R H 2B/3B HR RBI SB BA OBP SLG OPS WAR Eric Hosmer 37 Platform / Career / Jason Heyward 38 Platform / Career / Jason Heyward ( Heyward ) of the Atlanta Braves ( Braves ) was first time arbitrationeligible leading up to the 2012 season having just registered exactly MLS. Based on his 33 Shin-Soo Choo Statistics. Baseball-Reference, ; Shin-Soo Choo Statistics. Baseball-Reference, 36 ; Shin-Soo Choo Statistics. Baseball-Reference, Jason Heyward Statistics, Baseball Reference, 7

10 performance through the 2011 season, Heyward received a one-year, $3.65 million contract to avoid arbitration, a number exactly equal to the midpoint of $3.65 million in this hearing. 39 What stands out in particular with Heyward and Hosmer is the similarities in their career arc and year-by-year statistics; the significant difference however being Heyward s greater power production, overall value, and higher ceiling for potential value to his club in the future. Like Hosmer, Heyward produced a promising rookie season, but Heyward outperformed him, being named an all-star and finishing in the top-20 in MVP voting that rookie season. 40 Heyward s rebound platform season was substantially more impressive than Hosmer s in terms of homeruns (27-17), speed (SB 21-11) and overall value (WAR, ). 41 Heyward s platform stats demonstrate substantial offensive growth and development in his career arc, unlike Hosmer, whose platform season career highs were only a slight improvement on his previous bests. 42 In addition, Heyward s superior offensive career highs reflect a higher ceiling or projected level of performance that Hosmer has not demonstrated he is capable of achieving. While Hosmer is an impressive young player, Heyward is a very rare talent with limitless potential, and is the kind of five-tool player with substantially unique value. No statistic is more glaring in comparison of the two players career totals than their respective WAR totals to date; or rather, the players all-inclusive total value measured by the number of wins their production was worth. 43 Respectively, Heyward s yearly (4.7, 2.0, 6.3) and career WAR totals (13.1) are 39 Atlanta Braves, Cot s Baseball Contracts, 40 Jason Heyward Statistics, Baseball Reference, 41 ; Eric Hosmer Statistics, Fan-Graphs, Jason Heyward Statistics, Baseball Reference, Eric Hosmer Statistics, Baseball-Reference, WAR explained, Baseball-Reference, 8

11 significantly higher than Hosmer s individual (0.8, -1.7, 3.1), and career WAR totals (2.2), demonstrating a substantially greater value in Heyward career production. 44 In sum, while Hosmer has hit for a higher career batting average, Heyward s power, speed, superior all-around skills, and elite WAR rating, clearly show more value than Hosmer s career production to date. Thus Hosmer s current value is below that of Heyward s salary figure and since Heyward s salary figure of $3.65 million is exactly equal to the midpoint in this case, the only reasonable salary figure is the club s offer of $3.3 million. 3. James Loney (3.012 MLS) $3.1 million Figure 7 Eric Hosmer v. James Loney Split Age PA R H 2B /3B/ XBH HR RBI BB BA OBP SLG OPS Eric Hosmer 45 Platform / 3 / Career / 8 / James Loney 46 Platform / 2 / Career / 17 / James Loney ( Loney ) of the Los Angeles Dodgers ( Dodgers ) was first time arbitration-eligible leading up to the 2010 season. 47 Based on his performance through the 2009 season, Loney received a one-year, $3.1 million contract to avoid arbitration, which is slightly below the player offer of $3.3 million in this arbitration hearing. 48 Loney remains an appropriate comparative because no first-time arbitration eligible player since 2009 parallels Hosmer as clearly as Loney, specifically with regards to their projectable player type and the similarities in their offensive and defensive career statistics. Hosmer and Loney are both slick fielding, high average, gap-power first baseman whose career production leading into their first years of arbitration eligibility indicate that they do not 44 Jason Heyward Statistics, Fan-Graphs, James Loney Statistics, Baseball-Reference, Los Angeles Dodgers, Cot s Baseball Contracts, 9

12 project as future, stereotypical 30 homerun corner infielders. 49 While Hosmer had a slightly better platform season across the board (with the exception of RBI and OBP), Loney has the advantage in terms of career production consistency, producing back-to-back seasons at.280/13hr/90rbi in 2008 and Furthermore, Loney posted similar if not better career totals than Hosmer in nearly every offensive statistical category, including a career batting average (.295) 18 points higher than Hosmer, an OPS (.806) 50 points higher, and an RBI total (265) 48 higher than Hosmer. 51 Considering the quality of Hosmer s platform season but inconsistency of his career performance when compared to Loney, as well as the exceptional similarities between their career totals, Hosmer deserves an arbitration award slightly above Loney s $3.1 million figure. III. CONCLUSION AND REQUEST FOR A HEARING DECISION In conclusion, while Eric Hosmer has been a very good player for the Royals in his career to date, his yearly inconsistency and inability to demonstrate higher all-around value do not justify the player demand of $4.0 million when compared to the performance of similar players. While the Royals are hopeful that he can increase the level of his overall production, his limited ceiling and inability to hit for more power or drive in more runs are legitimate concerns and decrease his current value. In comparing his contributions to date with players such as Shin- Soo Choo, Jason Heyward and James Loney it is clear that Hosmer s value at this point in time lies below Heyward s $3.65 million figure. Therefore, based on the evidence provided in this brief and in oral argument, the Kansas City Royals respectfully request that this panel find the Club s offer of $3.3 million to be appropriate compensation for the 2014 season. 49 Traditionally Power Hitters, Los Angeles Times, (see above) 50 James Loney Statistics, Baseball-Reference,

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