Eric Hosmer thinks very highly of Triston Casas, who the Boston Red Sox selected Monday in the first round (No. 26 overall) of the 2018 Major League Baseball Draft.
The two both attended American Heritage High School in Plantation, Fla., with Casas even taking hitting lessons along with a group of prospects at the Hosmer family home. The San Diego Padres first baseman is impressed by what he’s seen from the 18-year-old slugger both on and off the field.
“Mentally, he’s about as advanced of a high school kid as I’ve ever seen,” Hosmer told MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo on Tuesday. “He’s extremely smart and asks the right questions. There were usually around four or five kids there (when we hit) and he never tried to act any different or think that people should act differently toward him. He’s extremely humble. It’s the work that he, his brother and his dad all put in to put him in this position to start his career.
“Overall, for me, from the outside looking in, I’ve seen the workload this kid has and I’m extremely happy and extremely proud of him and his family.”
Hosmer, one of several major leaguers who work with amateur prospects from South Florida, had a natural connection with Casas. Not only did Casas attend the same high school, but he also played first base, where Hosmer won four Gold Glove awards with the Kansas City Royals before signing an eight-year, $144 million contract with the Padres this past offseason.
Hosmer sees some differences in their offensive game, though. In fact, Hosmer had an interesting player comparison for Casas, who drew rave reviews from scouts for his raw power, advanced approach and ability to use all fields.
“Any time he’s in the cage taking swings, I immediately think of (Atlanta Braves first baseman) Freddie Freeman,” Hosmer told Cotillo. “Just with his whole setup and how he looks in the box.”
That’s some high praise, as Freeman is a two-time All-Star who’s long been one of the most offensively gifted first basemen in the game. But it’s a comparison Hosmer evidently is comfortable making given his high expectations for the new Red Sox farmhand.
“I’m extremely happy for him,” Hosmer said, per Cotillo. “He’s a guy that in two or three years could be a household name.”
In other words, familiarize yourself with the name “Casas.” At least one current major leaguer already has.