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Front Page: Official Twins Winter Meetings Day 3 Thread

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 12:17 PM
Day 2 of the Winter Meetings ended with a flurry of activity, ending a busy day. However, the Twins did not consummate any moves on Tuesd...
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The Trade Route

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 12:17 PM
Ive heard rumblings of the Twins swinging a trade with the Tigers for a big name pitcher, and I have to assume it would be Boyd.   A...
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Front Page: Randy Dobnak Is Better Than You Think

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 12:08 PM
Among the group of Twins internal starters without a firm place for 2020, but with a clear chance to assert themselves, one name stands o...
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Teams Inquiring On Eddie Rosario

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 11:47 AM
Per MLB.com's Mark Feinsand, teams have been contacting the Twins about the availability of Eddie Rosario but so far they have been rebuf...
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How high would you go for Cole?

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 11:53 AM
Let’s say Cole would sign if we gave him enough money. How high would you be willing to go? What if we could get him for 8 years, 300 mil...
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Eddie Rosario's Actual Value Is an Offseason Sticking Point

I shouldn't be surprised anymore. I really shouldn't.

Baseball's award voters have overemphasized traditional baseball-card numbers like wins and saves and RBIs as indicators of value since long before I was born. By no means should I have been shocked to see Eddie Rosario receive two eighth-place votes in the American League MVP balloting results, released on Thursday.

Still, I couldn't help but be taken aback. Maybe because I view this as a harbinger of what lies ahead for Rosario and the Twins this winter.
Image courtesy of David Berding-USA TODAY Sports
I like Eddie Rosario. I consider myself a big fan. He is talented and electric and entertainingly brash. His ability to crush pitches anywhere within reach is amazing. Rosie brings a unique element to the Twins lineup and clubhouse, without a doubt.

But I'm not gonna let these things blind me to the fact that he had a down year in some very essential ways. Whenever I broach this subject, I seem to find myself accused of being a "hater," but an honest analysis cannot avoid the conclusion that Rosario was a very ordinary player in 2019.

True: Rosario batted cleanup all year long for an historically powerful offense. He hit 32 homers and drove in a team-leading 109 runs.

Also true: He posted a .300 on-base percentage, lower than all but seven qualified major leaguers. And depending on which metric you look at, he was either sub par defensively, or the worst left fielder in the league. His Statcast measures were generally below average.

Granted, a pinch-hit walk-off home run sticks in the viewer's mind more than that steady stream of outs, which blend into the game's general rhythm over a long season. The same is true for a flashy game-ending outfield assist, in comparison with the litany of missed plays stemming from diminishing range, bad routes, and poor decisions.

But the central tenets of modern baseball analysis pronounce that outs are a precious commodity. Low OBPs are suppressive, even when attached to solid power. On the flip side, giving up outs defensively is detrimental to the utmost for run prevention.

In these two categories, Rosario was among the league's worst performers. And he's not trending well on either.

I realize that not everyone shares my perspective here. Clearly not the MVP voters, who collectively deemed Rosario more valuable than – say – Max Kepler, who received one single ninth-place vote despite his superior OBP, SLG, and home run total. That's not even broaching the vast chasm in defensive value. Kepler ranked 11th among AL position players in fWAR; Rosario ranked 50th!

I get it. This is the lagging nature of award voting, which has grown only mildly more sophisticated over the years. (To their credit, BBWAA did get it right by crowning Mike Trout.)

Moving at a more advanced pace in player evaluation? MLB's front offices. The shift has been evident in recent years, with home runs and RBIs decreasingly translating into dollars on their own merit. This helps explain why Jose Abreu (who finished in between Rosario and Kepler on the MVP ballots) opted to accept a qualifying offer from the White Sox, rather than test the market following an All-Star, 123-RBI season.

This brings us to the crux of the matter. Rosario is due for his second turn at arbitration this year, after earning $4.2 million in Year 1. He and his agent have grounds to request a substantial raise in 2020 – their case now bolstered by a dash of MVP recognition. The Twins will submit their own salary figure, and based on all we've just discussed, it's likely to be a good bit lower.

Even at the highest extremes, these gaps are never all that significant, but then again, the Twins took Kyle Gibson (every bit the entrenched franchise stalwart Rosario is) to arbitration in 2018 over a mere $300K difference in exchanged numbers. This front office is all about setting precedent.

Should the case go before a panel, it'll be interesting to see which way it goes. Arbitrators have traditionally been very... traditional in their judgments, aligning more so with the sentiments of BBWAA voters than Billy Beane. But in theory, salaries determined through this process should reflect larger trends around the league. What's 1.2 fWAR worth?

Anyway, all of that is beside the point. Determining Rosario's salary is a microcosm of the larger narrative: He's two years from free agency, and coming off a complicated season. This juncture is prime for either an extension or trade, as the Twins may never have better leverage on either front. If they choose to stay on the year-to-year plan, then arbitration awaits, and whatever that entails.

One way or another, we figure to learn a lot about Rosario's future in Minnesota over the next couple months.

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95 Comments

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The Wise One
Nov 15 2019 04:41 AM

That is all fine and dandy that you can rattle off statistics, MVP is an opinion on what is valuable as defined by each person who has a ballot. Those people are baseball writers. If you think it should be based on WAR just remember that WAR is based on someone's opinion on how much each element is valuable

    • Seth Stohs, peterb18, brvama and 11 others like this
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John Bonnes
Nov 15 2019 06:51 AM

It is kind of stunning to see his name in there. I will say this: for the first half of the season, I'm fairly sure that he was on my team MVP list, though I have trouble remembering where. So if a sportswriter only saw the Twins early in the year, he or she might have that opinion.

 

Unfortunately, I don't think any GMs of other MLB teams are traditional sportswriters. 

    • ScrapTheNickname and Dman like this

 

That is all fine and dandy that you can rattle off statistics, MVP is an opinion on what is valuable as defined by each person who has a ballot. Those people are baseball writers. If you think it should be based on WAR just remember that WAR is based on someone's opinion on how much each element is valuable

 

Very wise comment The Wise One.

 

And I cannot disagree with anything you have written, Nick.I believe, however, that Eddie brings something more to the table.Something that isn't measured in WAR and all those other calculations I don't understand.And that is an energy that can energize an entire team at certain times.

 

I expect a few of the writers see that in him and together with his strength in a few traditional numbers saw him as one of the most valuable players in the game.I can certainly see some Boston writer putting his name on his ballot.

 

And I may sound like I am beating a dead horse, but when he is playing injured or while recovering from an injury he doesn't have the same energy.It is at those times when he is more likely to not run out a ground ball, jog after a ball that he may at other times catch, or go into one of his streaks where he isn't swinging like the Eddie we have come to love.  

 

I have a feeling if the Twins didn't need him in the lineup when he is beat up and he only played when healthy, a lot of those new fangled numbers would look a lot better.  

    • pbrezeasap, brvama, Kelly Vance and 8 others like this
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Aerodeliria
Nov 15 2019 07:14 AM
That's a very nice synopsis!

I feel like I should have a cut and paste to put in each time the Rosario is the worst batter, worst fielder, should be traded is rebroadcast by a TD writer.I am just amazed - we finish a great season in which only one of our three starting fielders stays on the field and he is blasted for that. 

 

He played injured, he played tired, he rose to some great heights and slipped to some big lows, but he was there every day and I did not want Cave or Wade replacing him.  

 

Baldelli was MOY, smart, savvy, even analytics savvy, and he played him all year at number 4.Was he only smart with the rest of the lineup and roster and somehow uninformed about Eddie?

 

Let's write about the rest of the Twins and let Eddie rest a while.The FO will decide what they want to do with him and then we can debate, but for now how about an article about Kepler - is he really advancing, what is his ceiling or LaMonte Wade, will he stick around, are we stuck with Cave as our extra OF?When will Larnach, Kiriloff, Raley, Rooker be in the lineup?

    • SQUIRREL, scottz, pbrezeasap and 15 others like this

This is another reason to trade Eddie this winter (and no I'm not a hater).His value will never be higher.Arizona needs a corner OF'er with power.Package Eddie with a couple prospects not too high on our lists for Robbie Ray and Archie Bradley.Ray is needed more in our rotation than Eddie in the lineup and Bradley could be an excellent RH complement to Taylor Rogers in the bullpen.Sign Wheeler and you've got a staff of Berrios, Wheeler, Ray and Odorizzi and you can figure out who #5 is later.Larnach and Kiriloff are coming soon...THIS YEAR.They can play LF and some 1B.  

    • birdwatcher and tarheeltwinsfan like this
I saw an interesting theory posed and I can’t remember where. Had to be TD because that’s where I get my info. Anyway the idea is to approach all the arb eligible guys with fair extension offers. If they don’t take them trade them with team control when they have their highest value. Probably makes sense for Sano Rosario and Buxton
    • tarheeltwinsfan likes this
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nicksaviking
Nov 15 2019 09:00 AM

I think we will get a pretty fair estimation of his value once we start hearing contract offers for Marcel Ozuna and Nick Castellanos.

    • birdwatcher, Kelly Vance and big dog like this

I was thinking, what TD really needs is yet another article attacking Eddie Rosario. Can't get enough of those. 

 

 

    • Seth Stohs, SwainZag, Kelly Vance and 6 others like this
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LA VIkes Fan
Nov 15 2019 10:33 AM

I am a big fan of analytical analysis for players. It helps quantify areas that are difficult to truly understand for purposes of comparative analysis. I run a law firm and we use advanced analytics as a management tool.

 

The problem comes when the analytics are considered "the answer" rather than a tool to help you get to the answer along with other tools. Data analysis does NOT give you the answer; it helps you understand some of the factors you should consider when trying to get to the answer. Over-reliance on data is simply poor management when it involves human beings. 

 

I feel like we're overdoing it with the analytical analysis of Rosario. You're right - His OBP is too low, he swings at too many pitches outside of the zone, and he had a tough year in the OF. He's also a good clutch hitter,shows up to play every day even when nicked up (unlike his OF mates), and seems to genuinely care about the team, his teammates, and winning.He did have a good year in the "counting statistics" which you guys seem to want tosay isn't important for some reason. As an aside, it do find it interesting that the advanced analytics folks (by the way, are we sure they are "advanced" as in superior or just different?) have this superiority complex as compared to the counting stats folks. Seems like both are important. Rosario is a leader on the team and having him has made the Twins better and more successful over the last 3 years.Rosario isn't the reason we've stunk up the playoffs - the starting pitching is the reason. 

 

Does Rosario need to get better? Absolutely. By the way, so do Kepler, Buxton, Polanco, etc. - pretty much everybody on the team except maybe Cruz and Garver who we hope just stay the same.Should we trade him if we can get a #1 or #2 starter in return? Also absolutely, but seems unlikely. Is there a ready replacement in the organization or as a likely FA? Absolutely not. Should we trade him just because we think we can get a decent package for him and he doesn't look great under advanced analytics?Why on earth would we do that? 

 

I know its hard to find topics at this time of year and I think a hard look at all of the Twins is in order. Still guys, the Rosario bashing seems a little over the top. Maybe he got MVP votes because the writers who know the game better than we do see the intangibles better than we do. Maybe he's better than we think. 

    • birdwatcher, nokomismod, Oldgoat_MN and 6 others like this
People are simultaneously typing the twins are a mid market team, and that they should extend a corner OF, when two of their best prospects are corner outfielders.

He's the exact kind of player you go year to year with, especially with Kepler signed long term.

Not one person has posted he's a bad hitter, that's a straw man.
    • Twins33, beckmt, GCTF and 4 others like this

I am a big fan of analytical analysis for players. It helps quantify areas that are difficult to truly understand for purposes of comparative analysis. I run a law firm and we use advanced analytics as a management tool.

The problem comes when the analytics are considered "the answer" rather than a tool to help you get to the answer along with other tools. Data analysis does NOT give you the answer; it helps you understand some of the factors you should consider when trying to get to the answer. Over-reliance on data is simply poor management when it involves human beings.

I feel like we're overdoing it with the analytical analysis of Rosario. You're right - His OBP is too low, he swings at too many pitches outside of the zone, and he had a tough year in the OF. He's also a good clutch hitter,shows up to play every day even when nicked up (unlike his OF mates), and seems to genuinely care about the team, his teammates, and winning. He did have a good year in the "counting statistics" which you guys seem to want to say isn't important for some reason. As an aside, it do find it interesting that the advanced analytics folks (by the way, are we sure they are "advanced" as in superior or just different?) have this superiority complex as compared to the counting stats folks. Seems like both are important. Rosario is a leader on the team and having him has made the Twins better and more successful over the last 3 years. Rosario isn't the reason we've stunk up the playoffs - the starting pitching is the reason.

Does Rosario need to get better? Absolutely. By the way, so do Kepler, Buxton, Polanco, etc. - pretty much everybody on the team except maybe Cruz and Garver who we hope just stay the same. Should we trade him if we can get a #1 or #2 starter in return? Also absolutely, but seems unlikely. Is there a ready replacement in the organization or as a likely FA? Absolutely not. Should we trade him just because we think we can get a decent package for him and he doesn't look great under advanced analytics? Why on earth would we do that?

I know its hard to find topics at this time of year and I think a hard look at all of the Twins is in order. Still guys, the Rosario bashing seems a little over the top. Maybe he got MVP votes because the writers who know the game better than we do see the intangibles better than we do. Maybe he's better than we think.


Given that the most advanced analytics teams are the most successful, and everyone is copying them, was that an actual question about them being better?
    • Twins33, Dman and JDubs like this

I've said it before, and I'll say it again. Eddie is exactly the kind of player to go to arbitration with every year until he is either injured or a free agent. Both sides present honest arguments as politely as they can, and when the arbiter decides, you shake hands, smile, and try to be the first one to grab the check and pay for dinner.

 

Whatever that salary number is this year, the Twins can afford it. And whatever Eddie provides in value in 2020, it will almost assuredly be more than you'd get from 145 games of Wade or Cave (and also more than what you'd get from 145 games of any of the prospects).

    • birdwatcher, Mike Sixel, h2oface and 4 others like this
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Nick Nelson
Nov 15 2019 10:49 AM

Objective, evidenced analysis = "attacking." ok

    • birdwatcher, Mike Sixel, Cap'n Piranha and 5 others like this
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Nick Nelson
Nov 15 2019 10:54 AM

 

That is all fine and dandy that you can rattle off statistics, MVP is an opinion on what is valuable as defined by each person who has a ballot. Those people are baseball writers. If you think it should be based on WAR just remember that WAR is based on someone's opinion on how much each element is valuable

It is not an "opinion" to suggest that creating outs at an almost unparalleled rate on offense, and giving up outs at an almost unparalleled rate on defense, are detrimental to winning baseball games. It is statistically proven.

 

Opinions about a player are shaped by what we see and what we remember. The big flashy highlights and bat flips tend to stick in our heads. Which was basically the point of this article. 

    • Mike Sixel, Wyorev, Dman and 4 others like this
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LA VIkes Fan
Nov 15 2019 10:55 AM

 

Given that the most advanced analytics teams are the most successful, and everyone is copying them, was that an actual question about them being better?

Hey Mike, a bit tongue in cheek. My point really is that the analytics are only PART of the picture and we shouldn't ignore the counting stats. I don't think either analytics or the counting stats tell the whole story or even do so if they're combined. A baseball team is a human based business. The non-statistical parts of the evaluation are also important if you want to be truly successful. I don't want to be the As - a team with great analytics who has lost every playoff series they've been in since 1992 except when they beat us in 2006. A series they promptly followed by being swept in the AL Championship series by Detroit. I want to be the Yankees or Houston - teams that combine analytics with a heavy emphasis on the human side of the business. By the way, I think we are starting to get there.  

    • Mike Sixel, scottz, Riverbrian and 5 others like this
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LA VIkes Fan
Nov 15 2019 11:08 AM

 

Objective, evidenced analysis = "attacking." ok

No, not exactly, at least my post wasn't intended to say that. I think your analysis was very good as far as it went but didn't go all the way. The baseball writers seem to like Rosario better than the analytics do. I think the question is Why and I guess the analysis that they must be relying on outdated "counting statistics" seems a bit incomplete and dismissive. It may be that they see intangibles that any sort of statistics can't really measure. Or maybe you're right. I guess I'm just really curious. 

 

By the way, I don't see your post as a cry to trade Rosario at any cost or blaming him for something. I agree that he is probably the most replaceable of our trade assets, well along with the other corner OF since corner OF is the position most easily replaced from below. I'm in the camp of trade Rosario or Kepler if we can get a "real" #1 or #2 starter in return. Hell, trade Polanco, Buxton, Cruz, Sano, etc. (but just one of them) for a real #1 or #2 guy. I just don't see that happening abd trading Rosario or any of these guys for an average starter or a prospect type package makes no sense to me given where we are on the contention spectrum. I think people are reacting to the focus on Rosario to the exclusion of others like Kepler, Polanco, Sano, Buxton, etc. makes it seem like Roasrio is being singled out as the "problem" and is being "bashed". I know that's not your intent.  

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Nick Nelson
Nov 15 2019 11:08 AM

 

I know its hard to find topics at this time of year and I think a hard look at all of the Twins is in order. Still guys, the Rosario bashing seems a little over the top. Maybe he got MVP votes because the writers who know the game better than we do see the intangibles better than we do. Maybe he's better than we think. 

Lol. No. Have you paid attention to MVP/Cy Young voting in the past? I can say with great confidence that BBWAA as a whole does not know baseball, or the Twins, better than a majority of writers/commenters on this site. A panel of 18 Twins Daily contributors voted independently on team MVP at the end of the season and Rosario received ONE sixth-place vote. Imma go ahead and lend a lot more credence to that than a bunch of outsiders who get googly-eyed about RBI totals.

 

Rosario has a reputation. I get that. And it's something the Twins will have to reckon with as they attempt to reconcile the likely difference in perceived value.

 

It's amazing to me that people can read a detailed, evidenced article like this that opens with a genuine series of compliments about the player, and reduce it to "Rosario bashing." Why are people so sensitive about him??

    • Mike Sixel, Dman, tarheeltwinsfan and 2 others like this

The crazy thing is that he's not even the 8th best player ON HIS TEAM. He ranked EIGHTEENTH on the Twins in WAR according to Fangraphs. I don't care if you aren't that big of a believer in WAR, you can't think it's that off. And if you do, look at the players ahead of him: https://www.fangraph...son=2019&team=8

 

Do you think he was more valuable then those guys?

 

    • Mike Sixel, Major League Ready, tarheeltwinsfan and 1 other like this
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diehardtwinsfan
Nov 15 2019 12:28 PM

 

Objective, evidenced analysis = "attacking." ok

 

Whenever I read an article on Eddie citing object evidence, they go straight to defensive metrics which are (to be honest) questionable in nature. 

 

I think Eddie is a year to year guy, in large part b/c of the talent waiting in the wings. I also don't see a scenario where he brings back pitching. 

 

But setting this aside, Eddie is a guy I could see having a monster 2020 if he stays healthy. 

    • mikelink45 and rdehring like this
Stats aside, Eddie made the ESPN hilites reel for fielding....and The fans like him. I think this year will be great. I like watching him play and he has a good attitude in the dugout...geez at my job, he'd be management material!
    • mikelink45 and tarheeltwinsfan like this
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Kelly Vance
Nov 15 2019 12:34 PM

I'm reminded of a Charlie Brown quote "Lucy tell your statistics to shut up."

Statistics can be made to lie. And not all statistics matter the same.

 

Case in point, OBP. You want your lead off hitter and number 2 hitter to be high OBP guys. They are table setters.Not so much for a cleanup hitter. Those guys hit 4 not to get on base, but to drive in those runners ahead of them.That's why we call the #4 hitter the "clean up" hitter. He cleans up the base runners and drives them in.Eddie does that extremely well, hence the 109 RBIs, hence the MVP consideration. The game is still about scoring more runs that the opponent.And here is where Eddie is most valuable.

 

I don't understand the Eddie hate. He makes mistakes.So do we.He plays hurt. A lot of us wouldn't. 

Those of us who played with bad ankles or a hammy pull know it affects your play. A lot. 

 

And I give an eye roll every time I read, "I am an Eddie fan" just before the writer lobs criticisms at our left fielder. Letme say it here."I am an Eddie fan."I'll take the bad with the good any day. I don't get my kicks criticizing guys who play hurt, especially when they deliver anyway. 

 

Eddie pretty much is the reason we got off to a good start this year. He fairly carried the team early. He had like 15 homers by the fifth inning. OK, not quite. But you get my point.We got off to a great start and he was a big reason why. 

 

Eddie is not a matrix player. He has flashes of brilliance and makes plays nobody else on the roster could. Certainly I don't see Cave, Kiri, Larnach or Rooker throwing a runner out like Eddie does.And while Kiiri mighthit well in the bigs, that remains to be seen. So for me, I am glad to see Rocco write Eddie in at the cleanup spot.Cruz gets better pitches too because he is there.That doesn't show  

up in your matrix either. It shows up in the heads of opposing pitchers and managers.

 

So when I hear that Eddie gets votes for MVP.I just say, "Im a big fan. Of course he does." 

 

    • mikelink45, tarheeltwinsfan, ken and 2 others like this
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Nick Nelson
Nov 15 2019 12:52 PM

Where is this "Eddie was playing hurt" narrative coming from? Honest question. I can almost guarantee that several players on the team (including Kepler) were playing through more significant health impediments for long portions of the season.

 

My frustration with Rosario is that his plate approach has completely devolved. When at his best he had developed a semblance of patience, but it disappeared entirely over the course of this season (see Cooper's article for specifics). That seems very willful to me, like overconfidence is getting the best of him. 

 

Talk about leadership all you want but when I watched an inning where Kepler, Polanco and Cruz built a rally by grinding out tough at-bats, only to watch Rosario pop out on the first pitch at his ankles, that was frustrating. That's not leadership in any form. It's bad baseball. And it's the kind of thing that happened often. 

    • Mike Sixel, Twins33, Steve J and 4 others like this

I really like Eddie...would be happy to see him signed here....but also understand the roster and who is coming up......and if you want additional pitching and can't get in FA then you have to trade something of value to get value....so if Eddie is it we can say thanks and good luck!  

 

But they will need to find his replacement for Energy...and it was proven that Caveisn't an everyday player so planning on him is a HUGE mistake.....better to bring up the kids.....

RBIs count. 

 

They are, as is every statistic, opportunistic. 

 

Aside from the rare bases loaded walk/HBP, you can't get RBIs unless you swing the bat.

 

Kepler, Polanco, and Cruz, often hit in front of Rosario, and often in that order. They all have good OBP, all higher than Rosario's. Scenario: Kepler draws a walk to lead off. Polanco hits a weak ground ball, getting thrown out but advancing Kepler to second. Cruz strikes out. Rosario hits a single. Kepler scores. Sano Strikes out. Inning over, RUN SCORED. Flip Kepler and Rosario- same scenario, same individual production for each player. Rosario singles, advances on Polonco's out. Cruz Ks. Kepler walks. Sano Ks. Inning over, NO RUN SCORED. 

 

It's just one scenario, right. But it exemplifies the value of the single in comparison to the walk depending on lineup construction. The best a walk can be is equal to a single, but often, a single is far greater than a walk. Kepler's walk total is comparable to Rosario's singles total. If Rosario traded 20 of his singles for 30 walks, it would be a significant bump to his OBP, but his RBI total goes down, probably under 100. 

 

Taking a walk when given it, and having a measured, consistent approach to batting are valuable to a team's success, undoubtedly. These are not a part of Rosario's game. Everyone crushed Mauer, wrongly, for the duration of his career for being one of the best ever at practicing such an approach. He got crushed for not being willing to guess or expand or surprise. Mauer is an all-time Twins great, but he wasn't willing (in his approach to batting) to take a risk or a chance to be a hero. He wasn't willing to gamble on his own natural ability as a hitter in favor of doing the right thing as a batter. I'm a fan of Joe. I loved watching him play. I wish he was in the dugout/on the field for the 2019 run. But, there were many times when I was ready to lose my mind watching Joe take a walk with a runner on when we needed an RBI. And that doesn't mean he was wrong. It does mean I'm happy to have Eddie up there going after that RBI, even when he ends up looking like a fool.

 

It's pretty hard to strike a balance between patience and aggression. I mean, they are pretty antonymous. Most guys are going to sacrifice a fair bit of one for the other. The guys that have it balanced, the best of both, are Mike Trout. So if Rosario could add 20 walks to his 2019 total, without losing any singles, he'd be even higher on that list of MVP candidates, he'd be a lot closer to Mike Trout. 

    • USAFChief, birdwatcher, Kelly Vance and 6 others like this

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