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Recent Blogs

How Long Is Eddie Rosario's Leash?

It was an all too familiar sight on Tuesday evening at Target Field: Eddie Rosario, in the name of being aggressive, making an unbelievably dumb play and costing his team.

On this occasion, against the White Sox, he fielded a ball in left field and chucked it toward home plate in a hopeless attempt to beat a runner scoring easily from second. The throw was off line and, as catcher Jason Castro ran over to catch it, Jose Abreu strode leisurely into second, credited with a 'double.'

Paul Molitor might have gained a gray hair or two, but definitely lost a little more of whatever patience remains for the young outfielder, who shows minimal interest in tempering his recklessly aggressive style.
Image courtesy of Brad Rempel, USA Today
On the Gleeman & the Geek podcast a few weeks ago, Aaron cited a rather remarkable stat. Among all left fielders in the history of baseball who've made 1,000 plate appearances, Rosario's career on-base percentage (.296) ranks dead last.

He has had the worst strike zone control of any player in the majors since arriving, with his 0.15 BB/K ratio ranking 185th out of 185 qualified players over the past three seasons. He lets his aggressiveness get the best of him at the plate, just as it does in the field, canceling out raw ability that too rarely shines through. The habits we expected Rosario to outgrow linger on, at age 25 and coming up on his 300th MLB game.

He has been an altogether consistent hitter over the course of his up-and-down time in the bigs, with all the hot streaks and slumps adding up to roughly the same OPS every year (.742 career, .771 in 2017). That production would be perfectly fine from someone like Byron Buxton, who adds immense value on defense, but Rosario is a far cry. He plays a position with higher offensive expectations and he hasn't been playing it all that well.

While defensive metrics love Buxton, they don't look so kindly upon Rosario, who rates negatively by both UZR and DRS. The small sample caveat obviously applies, but I don't think anyone who's watched him in left regularly would disagree.

Now, this bears noting: Rosario is presently a year younger – and 200 plate appearances shy – of where Aaron Hicks was entering this season. Too many times we have seen a hopeless case suddenly flip on the light bulb, and with his electric ability Rosario would shine brighter than most if he could find the switch. He is a tremendous athlete. He hit three home runs in a game less than 10 days ago. His competitive fire would be refreshing and entertaining if it didn't so often burn him, and the team.

Is he starting to feel the heat? The microscope is magnifying with a higher power lens with Zack Granite making serious noise at Class-AAA Rochester. The Twins 2016 Minor League Player of the Year is batting .349/.402/.479 for the Red Wings, with a .478 average in the month of June. A scrappy and speedy center fielder known for his high baseball IQ, he is an enticing option, albeit one with a far lower ceiling than Rosario.

The big-picture play is to let things ride. Keep hoping it finally clicks for Rosario and let Granite continue to tear it up, maybe come up late in the year to get his feet wet as a fifth outfielder. But Molitor's fading club needs a spark, and the manager is undoubtedly exasperated with watching his blunderous left fielder hurt an already overmatched pitching staff.

Swapping Rosario for Granite would certainly send a message. Are the Twins, whose deadline approach will be dictated by the next four weeks, ready to send it?

  • Michael (ClassicMNTwins), verninski and mickeymental like this

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139 Comments

Could Rosario be traded for pitching?

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108Stitches
Jun 20 2017 10:42 PM
Seems like there are a LOT more qualified guys who could take that spot by a guy who isn't interested in adapting his game.
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jorgenswest
Jun 20 2017 10:43 PM
A few notes on Rosario and 1000 plate appearances.

1) He hasn't been good.
2) Comparisons like this are not parallel. I don't think Rosario is being compared to the first 1000 plate appearances of others. He is being compared to their record at the end of their career. Joe Rudi, for example, was not very good in his first 1000 plate appearances and should have been below Rosario.
3) Frank Delahanty and George Barclay have lower career OBPs. They played over 100 years ago though. Six other players are under .300. Four of 6 played this year. Their careers aren't finished yet.

My apologies if the search was comparing all players in their first 1000 plate appearances. That would be a more interesting comparison. I wonder how many other Joe Rudi's would be in the group to offer some hope in Rosario.
    • gil4, Dantes929, ericchri and 3 others like this
I've been on the Rosario bandwagon a long time. His tools are legit, speed, arm strength, bat speed, & an elite level of hand eye coordination for putting bat to ball that has fostered terrible habits.

His defense has regressed to the mean some. He is not run on nearly as much, which becomes harder to calculate with metrics. Eye test wise, a combo of seemingly fewer chances at spectacular catches combined with less aggressiveness has dropped his defensive value metrics wise.

I don't give up on Rosario, he's responded well to challenge throughout his baseball career. Bring up Granite as the 4th OF to push him & play the hot hand.

Let's see whacha got Eddie!
    • birdwatcher, DocBauer, mickeymental and 3 others like this
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HitInAPinch
Jun 21 2017 01:50 AM

As I mentioned in another threat, I have to wonder if Rosario needs more time off, just like Sano.  Sano starts striking out a lot, Molitors gives him a couple days rest and Sano comes back hitting like a mad man.

 

After reading the Zack Granite discussions over the past couple days, I'd still stay with Rosario.  If Granite can get a few hits and play better defense than Grossman, hell yeah, bring him up and give Rosario the 'Sano Treatment' !

 

Wish I had the stats to prove all this.  Just way too early in the morning....

Rosario / Granite platoon situation, maybe?The problem is, where does that leave Grossman...?

 

Rosario has a cannon for an arm, you gotta admit that. 

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Comrade Bork
Jun 21 2017 05:06 AM

Could Rosario be traded for pitching?


I gotta say he wasn't on my radar as trade bait. The upside is still there and we have the depth for it. I'd swap him for an above average reliever with some control left on his contract.

As I mentioned in another threat


If I were you, I would make threats less of a habit...

Seriously though, I wonder if a short wake up call might help. Does he have options? If so, maybe a brief trip to Rochester would tell him how important it is to keep your head in the game. The kid is 25. He still has time to learn. I would much rather have an intelligent, experienced, wiser Rosario on our team than going the likes of Go Go Gomez or Aaron Hicks. I love Granite as a fourth outfielder but I would like more power from left than Granite has long term. Short term for a wake up call... I'm down with that
    • Sconnie and HitInAPinch like this
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Don't Feed the Greed Guy
Jun 21 2017 05:31 AM

The Twins lack a true lead off hitter. I'd like to see Granite's high IQ, OBP, and 72 steals over the past 173 games at the top of the lineup. 

    • wavedog, Dantes929, goulik and 2 others like this
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Don't Feed the Greed Guy
Jun 21 2017 05:32 AM

 

A scrappy and speedy center fielder known for his high baseball IQ, he is an enticing option, albeit one with a far lower ceiling than Rosario.

Why is Granite's ceiling so much lower than Rosario's?

    • Mike Frasier Law, Dantes929 and nytwinsfan like this
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diehardtwinsfan
Jun 21 2017 05:43 AM

Rosario is not the problem on this team. If he can be upgraded, by all means do so, but even with that sickly OBP, his OPS sits right around the MLB league average. Defense has to get factored here too, and that throw certainly shows where he's lacking, but he's generally been a decent defender for what it's worth.With Granite being hot, I do think it makes sense to swap someone, and if that's Eddie so be it. I don't think Buxton should be given a free pass here either, though in his defense he's been hitting better again of late, and that is certainly worth considering.

 

As for trading him, I'm not sure what he can get. This plate discipline, while trending in the right direction, certainly hasn't been fixed.If a team was willing to send back a similar pitcher with similar control, I'd consider making the move personally.Would another team though?

    • nicksaviking and Run Prevention like this

Sooner or later Buxton will try to run thru a wall and go on the disabled list, then Granite can come up. Until then, let Rosario play, he has too much talent to give up on. Its up to Molitor and the coaches to harness that talent. Maybe he should have been pulled from the game or fined after his stupid throw??!

    • markos likes this

Back to the original question - How long is his leash?  I would say as long as the WAR stays positive.  It's important to note as well that he hits lefties decently, which helps the club.  Some may say he's not adjusting, but his BB/K rate is his best this year (0.29 versus 0.13 each of last two years) and his OPS is at a career high (0.771).  It would be great if he walked more and/or had an OPS above 0.800, but if he averages double digit homeruns and steals, hits lefties decently, and plays decent-to-good defense, is it worth complaining about as a #7-#9 hitter?  Still with only 1000 MLB AB's, I'd give him more time, but am not opposed to putting more pressure on his playing time.

 

PS - He does happen to be having his best month offensively in June with a .286 average, .880 OPS, 4 HR, 5BB, 13 K's.

    • pbrezeasap, Mike Frasier Law, Oldgoat_MN and 3 others like this
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yarnivek1972
Jun 21 2017 06:06 AM

Why is Granite's ceiling so much lower than Rosario's?


Primarily because he lacks power. Not only will he never hit 3 HR in a game. That might be more than a full season's worth.
Hey, Rosario is already approaching his career high in walks. In any event, don't bring up Granite unless he's playing Everyday.
    • youngtwinsfan likes this
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yarnivek1972
Jun 21 2017 06:27 AM

Hey, Rosario is already approaching his career high in walks. In any event, don't bring up Granite unless he's playing Everyday.


I don't know that I agree with that. The common held belief is that Granite is most likely a role player at the MLB level. He's only a year younger than Rosario and older than Kepler and Buxton. No problem IMO calling him up to be a reserve player.
    • USAFChief, Dantes929, Oldgoat_MN and 2 others like this

Rosario / Granite platoon situation, maybe? The problem is, where does that leave Grossman...?

Rosario has a cannon for an arm, you gotta admit that.


The lefty/lefty platoon would be unorthodox.
    • USAFChief, Dantes929, ThejacKmp and 2 others like this

I don't know that I agree with that. The common held belief is that Granite is most likely a role player at the MLB level. He's only a year younger than Rosario and older than Kepler and Buxton. No problem IMO calling him up to be a reserve player.


No problem bringing Granite up as a reserve, just not clear what he would bring to the table much different than Rosario.

I wouldn't change the roster, but I would probably cut Rosarios playing time a little in favor of Vargas and Grossman.
    • USAFChief and markos like this
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Old Twins Cap
Jun 21 2017 06:39 AM

I have been on the Rosario bandwagon.The idea of Kepler, Buxton, Rosario outfield growing together is compelling.

 

But, there is something about Eddie's attitude that has started to grate on me.He sulks, his facial expressions, his body language:it's all about him, good or bad.

 

Even Sano, at least, is showing up as a team guy.

 

Now imagine we have a scrappy, high OBP, speed guy leading off, who is better defensively, raises havoc on the bases and is all about team and being the underdog.

 

Call me Granite curious, but at the rate he is going, I can see the Granite skill set fitting in better than Eddie over the long term.Twins have power and defense, but they need OBP, speed and an ankle biting underdog, IMHO.

 

 

    • Steve Lein, brvama, wavedog and 4 others like this

I  can see Eddie getting packaged in a deadline pitching deal.  I wouldn't enjoy that; he's one of my favorite Twins, but I wouldn't be surprised.  I am also on the Granite-wagon, though, and would love to see him get a chance at the top of the order.  Everyone was anticipating Buxton being the #1 batter for years to come, but that hasn't panned out as yet.  And Dozey, bless his heart is NOT (I repeat NOT NOT NOT) a good option as a leadoff hitter.  As long as we've given up on having a stolen base guy at the top, why Mr. OBP Grossman ain't leading off, I can't figure.  

 

But as far as Eddie goes, I also wonder how much to put on the dugout staff for his failing to overcome the bad habits that still plague him, (and the team when he has those brain-farts).  There are a whole bunch of former solid pros on that bench, you'd think someone would have gotten through by now.  

    • Dantes929, Blackjack and Respy like this
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tarheeltwinsfan
Jun 21 2017 06:54 AM

Rosario / Granite platoon situation, maybe?The problem is, where does that leave Grossman...?
 
Rosario has a cannon for an arm, you gotta admit that.

I'm all for bringing up Granite as a fourth outfielder and playing him 4 days a week. It would save us all from having to watch Grossman miss plays and Rosario too when he gets put in center as well as using playing time to push Rosario. Rosario probably wouldn't get any real value in return in a trade. Guys who a team is debating weather or not to send down tend to get that kind of player in return and we have plenty of that on the pitching staff already. If the front office gets offers though and find someone they like is hope they would be open to it.
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yarnivek1972
Jun 21 2017 07:05 AM
I don't believe Rosario has options remaining. So, sending him down really isn't an option - play on words unintended.

I've liked Rosario since his amazing start with triples and outfield assists a few years ago. However, last season & this season have disappointed me. I really question how well the Twins know how to reach their young Hispanic players. I also question how well the Twins do with having a team psychologist who can help the players. I think Rosario has a lot of untapped potential that the Twins are missing out on. I'd hate to see him turn into the next Gomez, Hicks, or David Ortiz, a player with huge potential where the Twins fail to provide the needed coaching, counseling, or whatever is needed to help him realize his potential.

    • Deduno Abides likes this

To add to my last comment - Rosario seems to be rather lazy on defense. He seems to have a fiery attitude and is aggressive, but he also gets lazy on more routine plays. I feel like there are times where he jogs slowly after a hit which can allow a smart runner to take an extra base due to his slowness to get to the ball. Kepler seems to move much more quickly chasing after balls that have already hit the ground, whether it's charging in on a grounder or running back to a ball off the wall.

    • Danchat likes this

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