Eric Hosmer taking control in Kansas City

Updated: September 18, 2011, 12:18 PM ET
By Buster Olney

Playing first base is a great way to meet folks, and in his first year in the big leagues, Eric Hosmer has chatted with some of the travelers who have passed through. Welcome to the big leagues, Derek Jeter said to him, adding, "It's the same game you've always played, just more people watching."

Paul Konerko talked hitting with him, but no one has talked more about that than David Ortiz, who carried over a conversation from one day at first base to a 30-minute exchange of thoughts with Hosmer the next day. Hosmer listens, in keeping with one of the first nicknames bestowed upon the Kansas City Royals' rookie first baseman: The Sponge.

Hosmer asks the right questions. He says the right things. He does everything the right way. Jeff Francoeur had a conversation last year with Mark DeRosa of the San Francisco Giants, and DeRosa had told him about how different the San Francisco clubhouse was after Buster Posey arrived.