Unlocking Eddie Rosario
Image courtesy of John Geliebter-USA TODAY SportsSlow Starter
For his career, Rosario has been a traditionally slow starter. He has hit .241/.276/.398 in the months of April/March. His OPS of .647 in the season’s first month is 100 points lower than any other month. Maybe the cold impacts his bat, because September/October is his second lowest monthly batting average and OBP.
This season, Rosario didn’t collect a hit until the team’s fourth game. This meant he started the year 0-for-14 with two walks and four strikeouts. In that fourth game against the Royals, his first hit came at one of the biggest spots so far for the club. Minnesota was down a run in the top of the ninth. Jorge Polanco had doubled to lead off the inning. Rosario was able to drive him in to tie the game and the club came back to win in extra-innings.
Baseball is a game of streaks and that hit might have helped Rosario to turn an offensive corner.
Since that game, Rosario has recorded a hit in seven out of eight games including three multi-hit efforts. Following Sunday afternoon’s three hit barrage, Rosario has his average up to .283 and his OPS is north of .880. But is there more to this recent streak?
He’s been able to go on this stretch thanks to a few key changes. He is barreling up the ball more often. Last year, he set a career high with an 8.3 barrel percentage. This year he has nearly doubled that total with a 15.2 barrel percentage. Rosario’s exit velocity has also improved to 88.9 mph, which is up for a career high 87.3 mph last season.
Rosario’s launch angle has also shifted over the last two seasons. During the 2015-17 seasons, his average launch angle sat in the 10.5 to 13.6 range. Last year, he upped his launch angle to 17.4 and this season he’s right near that mark with a 16.3 launch angle.
Rosario is never going to lead the league in walks, especially with his free-swinging approach. During his first two big-league seasons, he was in the bottom 3% of the league in walk percentage. Over the last two seasons, he has seen minor improvements. Entering play on Monday, his walk percentage was better than league average (8.7 BB%).
Fans can overreact to early season results. There will be ups and downs for players throughout the year. Rosario was relied on to power the offense through multiple parts of last season.
He can’t be everything for this team again; but hopefully, he can be one piece of an even more powerful offense in 2019.
How important is Rosario to the Twins offense? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.
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