Thursday, February 28, 2013

Rosario could rise to the top in '13

With a variety of top prospect list coming out at this time of year, there is plenty of talk about the high-ranking prospects in the Twins farm system. Miguel Sano and Byron Buxton could be on their way to multiple All-Star appearances. Alex Meyer and Kyle Gibson could make up the starting rotation of the future.

The Twins have some talent at the top of their farm system and this makes the next couple years of development very important. Some of these younger players will be working through their most important years in the minor leagues before they make their debut. An injury or poor play could see their stock fall exponentially.

Plenty of the big name prospects for the Twins haven't made an appearance above the Single-A level. Miguel Sano, Byron Buxton, and Alex Meyer are just a few of the players that will be trying to get to Double-A at some point in 2013.

When it comes to minor league players, the Twins tend to take a conservative approach to moving players from one level to the next. The team doesn't want to rush players before they find success at their current level. This can help their confidence for the future and it can hurt their development if they are rushed.

One player that could be a fast riser in the next couple of years is Eddie Rosario. He is considered a top 10 prospect in the organization but he has some attributes that could make it easier for him to rise to the top. Last season, the 20-year old spent the entire year in Beloit. This could be the year for him to jump multiple levels.

Rosario was a fourth round pick by the Twins back in 2010. He signed quickly and got into over 50 games that year with the GCL Twins. He showed the ability to hit for average and mix in some power. These were great signs from an 18-year old but the best was yet to come.

The 2011 season was amazing for Rosario. He had a stretch of baseball to finish the year that was eye-popping. As I wrote in the Minnesota Twins Prospect Handbook, "Rosario went on a hitting hot streak for the ages to help lead the E-Twins to the playoffs. During the team’s last 17 games, he hit 10 home runs to go along with four triples, a double, and an eye-popping .477 batting average."

His swing is very advanced for the level he is at in the minor leagues. Rosario's quick wrist allow him to power the ball to all fields and this could help him get to the top faster than his peers. For his career in the minor leagues, he is .310/.362/.538 hitter.

The only thing holding him back at this point might be the Twins decision to move him to second base. He was a fine defender in center field but the team has a surplus of other prospects at that position. It seems like the Twins always need middle infield help. If he can continue his strong offensive showing and play adequate defense, he could be well on his way to Target Field.

Another item helping Rosario in his development is his inclusion on Team Puerto Rico for the World Baseball Classic. He gets to spend the first few weeks of spring training in big league camp. This gives some of the coaches and front office personnel a closer look at him. His performance has been very good so it will be interesting to see how he does in the WBC.

For the coming year, Rosario will likely start the year in Fort Myers but this shouldn't be his only stopping point in 2013. Getting to New Britain should not be out of the question for Rosario and he could even go as far as Rochester.

Either way, Rosario should be knocking on the door to the big leagues by season's end...

3 comments:

TT said...

Rosario is nowhere near the major leagues. He is a guy who does really project to have the power to take a corner outfield spot.

He doesn't have the defense for center field. If he did, he would still be out there. You don't move a prospect to a lesser defensive position in A ball because you already have prospects at that position.

But what prospects were blocking Rosario last spring when he was moved to second base? Jonathan Goncalves, the center fielder at Beloit, isn't exactly a huge prospect. Angel Morales, the center fielder at Fort Myers, is more of a prospect but no one is setting aside a spot for him in the big leagues. The only center field prospects that might have blocked Rosario were Hicks at AA and Joe Benson at AAA. Their presence certainly didn't prevent the Twins from taking Buxton in June.

Whether Rosario can make the transition to second base well enough to play in the big leagues is still a question. If he can, his bat probably plays there.

That is still a long way off. There is almost no way he will be ready to compete for a job in the big leagues at second base next spring. He is far more likely to be in minor league camp getting ready for his first year at AA. We can only hope that he is ready for that step.

NoDak Twins Fan said...

TT-

His swing is very advanced and that was the main idea behind this post.

Rosario was considered an above average defender in center field according to many scouts. The Twins have discussed this when they decided to move him. Even Terry Ryan at TwinsFest mentioned that Rosario was very good in the outfield but they had other players for centerfield.

Buxton was considered the best player in the draft. That's why they took him.

There is a chance Rosario advances far this year. There is also a chance that he has some injuries or poor play and doesn't move anywhere.

Only time will tell...

TT said...

That isn't the scouting report I heard. The pre-draft evaluation of Rosario was that he lacks the speed/range for center field or the arm for right field. Those kinds of tools don't suddenly appear.

There is a chance that any prospect will take off. But that doesn't usually happen with someone who is learning a brand new position. Switching from running down fly balls to making the pivot at second base is a huge jump.

He is having a nice spring training. But its important to remember he is doing it against players who are shaking off the rust after 5 months off. While he played baseball in meaningful games all winter. And often he is doing it against players who will be in the minor leagues this season.