Eddie Rosario might not have been found as late as Dozier or Tonkin but the Twins have still gotten value out of their 2010 fourth round pick. He's one of eight players from that fourth round to appear in the big leagues and he's accumulated the third highest WAR besides playing in fewer than 40 games.
|Jesse Johnson, USA Today|
2015 Stats (MLB): .283/.308/.424 (.732), 5 2B, 0 3B, 3 HR
(AAA) .242/.280/.379 (.659), 2 2B, 1 3B, 3 HR
2014 Preseason Ranking: 5, 2015 Preseason Ranking: 8
What's To Like
Rosario's best tool has always been his hitting ability. Throughout his younger years in the minors, he made consistent contact and saw brief power outputs including leading the Appalachian League in home runs during his second season. For his minor league career, he's hit .291/.340/.480 while averaging 10 home runs and over 17 doubles per season.
After serving a 50-game suspension to start the 2014 season, Rosario struggled to hitting for the first time in his career (.237 in 316 AB). Minnesota sent him to the Arizona Fall League for the second consecutive year and he knocked the cover off the ball. Across 24 games, he batted .330/.345/.410 with four doubles, two triples, 18 RBI and 10 steals. This included going 4-for-5 with a home run and a double in the AFL title game.
Before the emergence of Brian Dozier and some other middle infield prospects, the Twins attempted to move Rosario to second base. He has since been moved back to the outfield where he has shown the ability to play all three outfield positions. His strong arm and defense flexibility should help him stick at the big league level.
What's Left To Work On
As Rosario got closer to the big leagues, his offense production declined. His on-base percentage dipped below .300 for the first time in his career and his OPS was under .675. With Byron Buxton penciled in as the center fielder, it likely means Rosario will be pushed to a corner outfield spot. This means he will need to hit for a high average and improve his power numbers from recent years.
Rosario wasn't exactly pounding down the door to the big leagues when the Twins called him up this season. In 95 at-bats, he was limited to a .242 batting average and a .280 on-base percentage. He had combined for six extra-base hits but this marks were well below his minor league average. Besides his AFL output, his time in the minors hadn't been great since returning from his drug suspension.
Rosario made his big league debut at the beginning of May and he got off to a hot start by hitting .298/.317/.421 with 10 RBI in 18 games. Things have cooled off a little in June but his OBP has is still over .300 and his slugging percentage has gone up thanks to seven of his 18 hits being for extra bases. He's spent time in both left and right field and it seems like the Twins could go with an outfield that includes Rosario, Buxton, and Hunter for the rest of the season.
Rosario's stock has risen higher than some other players that were thought of more highly in recent years. Aaron Hicks and Oswaldo Arcia have showcased their flaws over the last couple seasons and the Twins seem ready to turn things over to a different crop of young players. If Rosario can continue to produce and play solid defense, there's no reason to think he won't be in a corner outfield spot for the rest of the season.
He might never be an All-Star but he has the chance to be a solid everyday player and team's need those types of players to remain competitive.