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Early Report on Eddie Rosario's Plate Discipline

There was much talk this offseason about the value of Eddie Rosario. While he brings power and spark to the Twins ballclub, his lack of plate discipline has always held him back from reaching his ceiling as a ballplayer. After showing a desire to improve in this area over the offseason, what do early returns show us of Rosario’s plate discipline in 2020?
Image courtesy of © David Berding-USA TODAY Sports
Up to this point in his career, Eddie Rosario has taken a lot of flack for being a free-swinger who bails out pitchers by swinging at pitches out of the zone. He would frequently find himself in pitcher’s counts, and consistently kill rallies by popping up the first pitch of an at-bat after the players in front of him would grind out long ones. In 2019, Eddie Rosario finished last on the Minnesota Twins after he saw just 3.51 pitches per plate appearance. By comparison, more patient hitters like Mitch Garver and Nelson Cruz saw 4.17 and 4.11 pitches per plate appearance respectively. Additionally in 2019, Rosario led the Twins in 1st pitch swing % (42.1%) as well as O-Swing% (46.3% of swings at pitches outside of the strike zone).

It became clear this offseason that his aggressiveness and free-swinging nature was something that Rosario wanted to work on. In a radio interview at Twins Fest, Rosario had a lot to say on the work that he was doing with his plate discipline. “Every bad number? I want to try to get better at it”, Rosario said. “Defense, walks, OPS, those are the numbers in the game right now that are bad for me. OK. I want to try to change that. That’s it.” Eddie continued on later in the interview to say, “I love being aggressive, but I love to help the team”. Manager Rocco Baldelli and new hitting coach Edgar Varela had surely been in Eddie’s ear this offseason, showing him the numbers, and how a little plate discipline could unlock a whole new part of Rosie’s game.

Early returns have given some reason for optimism that Eddie has made strides in the plate discipline mark. In Eddie’s first at bat of the 2020 season, Rosario took a 5 pitch walk off of White Sox ace, Lucas Giolito. Up to that point, Giolito had proven that his command was a bit off. He already had walked Josh Donaldson three batters before him and in general seemed frazzled after a rocky start. Rosario stayed disciplined and took all five pitches in the at-bat, laid off pitches outside the zone, and took a walk. One would have expected an aggressive Eddie to jump out of the gates swinging, but that wasn’t the case. Sure it’s just one walk, but that walk seemed to be a good representation of a potential new mindset for Eddie this season.

While that initial walk signaled a potential new mindset for Rosario, his numbers through the first five games of the season have borne out improved plate discipline for the Twins right fielder. Rosario has thus far shown improved numbers in pitches per plate appearance, first pitch strike %, O-Swing% and Chase %. Even just by the eye test, Eddie has appeared to show more restraint earlier in counts and has appeared to have a desire to take pitchers deeper in counts.

Attached Image: rosario.png

While the early numbers do show improved plate discipline for Rosario, small sample size is always the name of the game when we are tossing around stats through five games in a season. There is reason to believe that Eddie’s plate discipline numbers above might not tell the whole story. Eddie has only taken two unintentional walks, and his O-Swing% isn’t too far off of his career numbers.



Rosario became a very controversial figure withinTwins circles this offseason. Debates swirled regarding the importance of plate discipline and just how much Rosie's lack of that discipline could take away from his overall value as a hitter. For that reason, it will be important to keep a close eye on these numbers all season as the sample size grows larger and larger. Has Rosario done what he vowed to do at Twins Fest and sacrificed some aggressiveness in favor of helping the team? Or is regression in order, and Eddie will wind up just being the same ole’ Eddie? Only time will tell.

What have been your first impression of Eddie Rosario this season? Do you think that he has demonstrated improved plate discipline? What will be the biggest key to Rosario being more disciplined this year? Leave a comment below and start the conversation!

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20 Comments

I can see he understands his weakness and is trying and that is awesome, but as you can see by his chase rate he just doesn't have a great sense of the zone. Guy has amazing hand eye coordination and can turn on pitches that no other hitter I have seen can.He can hit balls hard that are out the of strike zone, but mainly makes weak contact there.  

 

Personally I think pitchers drool over getting to face him because there is little reason to throw strikes or quality pitches just let Rosario get himself out.Hopefully he improves because if he does look out he could be one of the most dangerous hitters in baseball.

    • Twins33 and 70charger like this

The 3-2 pitch he swung and missed today hit the plate. Bieber had good stuff today but that pitch was a foot out of the strike zone.

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Tom Froemming
Jul 30 2020 09:58 PM

 

The 3-2 pitch he swung and missed today hit the plate. Bieber had good stuff today but that pitch was a foot out of the strike zone.

 

The takeaway there is that Eddie Rosario worked a 3-2 count against Shane Bieber.

    • glunn, Danchat, Minny505 and 2 others like this
Amazing what a lightening rod Rosario has become.

I have been a fan since be was brought on board, and remain so. I think he is a tremendous personality, a team leader, and a proven performer. Despite those who argue against his performance, statistics have proven he was a top performer in RBI situations in 2019. Clutch is still clutch.

Despite some borderline to silly plays, he has proven himself...when healthy...to usually being not only a quality OF, but one capable of great plays. And I'm willing to forgive a bad play for every 3 good plays. Because those good plays are usually damn good. It's Eddie being Eddie.

And if you take a big picture look at everything over the last 2 seasons, you have a choice. You can look at instincts fielding, base running, and quality production, in clutch moments. Even with a shoulder problem in 2018 and a bad leg in 2019. OR, you can say he can't play defense above average and anyone could produce numbers in this lineup.

I'm not saying you are wrong if you think Eddie is easily replaceable. In fact, when you look at the potential of Larnach and Kirilloff, it's really hard to argue about future replacement value.

But I do think Rosario has been victimized a bit by injury the last couple of seasons to reach his true performance level. I think he is smart enough to realize the limitations on his game due to over-aggressiveness. But can he understand that and make adjustments without losing the right kind of offensivness that makes him so productive?

In direct terms, just a 10% adjustment in SO/BB could be huge. Has he, can he, as a young veteran player make that change? I sure hope he can!
    • glunn, LA VIkes Fan and rdehring like this
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Major League Ready
Jul 31 2020 05:58 AM

He has been slightly better this year but still so bad that pitchers are going to abuse him. I have only seen one well stuck ball this year. That was the HR against the cardinals and the pitcher missed his spot by 18 inches and left it right where Rosario likes it.It has still been very rare to see Rosario get anything decent to hit because he is either unable or unwilling to make pitchers throw him anything that gets much of the plate.

 

The league has adjusted. He was fantastic the 2nd half of 2017 and the 1st half of 2018. He was so great opposing pitchers pitched him very careful. They learned there was no need to give him much to hit and that he would chase wildly with 2 strikes. Now, everyone knows they can get him to swing at anything close in pretty much any quadrant of the zone. That's just too much for anyone to cover. The only difference I see this year is that he is not chasing the stuff that is way out of the zone. He will need to improve his approach significantly beyond what we have seen so far if he is every going to get back to anything near the last half of 2017 / 1st half of 2018. I would rotate between Rosario and Cave until one of them wins the job.

 

 

    • Dman likes this

You close by asking if Eddie will end up being "the same ole Eddie?"

 

Well, if that is the downside I'll take it and be damn happy. If he closes out the 2020 season with the prorated equivalent of last year's 100+ RBI and 30+ home runs, I will be more than happy. More important, I suspect Rocco and the Twins FO will also be more than happy.

 

If he gets a bit more disciplined, fantastic. If he doesn't and continues to be the Eddie I love, also fantastic. Let's let Eddie be Eddie!

    • Channing1964 likes this
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Major League Ready
Jul 31 2020 07:08 AM

 

The takeaway there is that Eddie Rosario worked a 3-2 count against Shane Bieber.

 

He did not "work" the count. Bieber missed badly twice with two pitches that never looked like they had a chance at being anywhere near the strike zone.

    • Minny505 likes this

The takeaway there is that Eddie Rosario worked a 3-2 count against Shane Bieber.


Thats not my takeaway.

My takeaway is a K on a pitch that bounced.
    • Major League Ready and Minny505 like this
He drives me crazy. Swing or don't. Those half-fast bat flicks with two strikes produce next to nothing.
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Tom Froemming
Jul 31 2020 09:46 AM

 

Thats not my takeaway.

My takeaway is a K on a pitch that bounced.

 

    • Matthew Taylor likes this

I don't think Eddie is controversial at all. He's just one of the more obvious trade candidates and we, as fans, want to obsess about what-if scenarios and pretend GM scenarios.

 

He's an above average player who hits in the middle of the lineup. We're lucky to have him.

 

Sometimes his weakness is his aggression. Sometimes it's his stength. Hopefully he'll find a way to balance the two as he matures as a hitter, because it will definitely impact his career longevity once he's on the other side of 30.

    • 70charger, Dman and rdehring like this
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LA VIkes Fan
Jul 31 2020 10:13 AM

Eddie is who he is. I frankly wonder if the increased emphasis on plate discipline is directly related to his poor start this year. I think we should let him be who is is, a free swinger who will get abused at times and who will get a clutch hit on a ball 6" out of the strike zone at times. I will take his performance at the plate over the last 2 years, even thought his plate discipline stinks. 

 

Let's not forget one critical fact - Eddie Rosario is the best hitting Outfielder on the Twins and has been in each of the last 3 years. He was in 2017, he was in 2018, and he was in 2019. I know we'd like to see him get better but let's not forget that crucial fact. There is great love for Kepler on this site for reasons that frankly escape me - excellent fielder but he's had one solid year at the plate in the last 3 years, no good ones, and 2 less than average OF years - but that love is his potential, not his present reality. This team needs Rosario to be an everyday player and we need him to hit if the team is going to be successful.

 

That doesn't mean that Larnach, Rooker, et. al. might not someday be better. We don't know and won't until they play. And isn't that the conundrum of actually following a good team for a change - we actually have to play the guys who can produce TODAY, not the guys who might be the next star. Eddie needs to play, he needs to hit, and if emphasizing plate discipline takes away from his hitting he needs to go back to being his old self. 

 

i say we talk about somethingmore important - does Sano stink at the plate or what? He looks awful. 

 

    • rdehring likes this

 

Let's not forget one critical fact - Eddie Rosario is the best hitting Outfielder on the Twins and has been in each of the last 3 years. He was in 2017, he was in 2018, and he was in 2019. I know we'd like to see him get better but let's not forget that crucial fact. There is great love for Kepler on this site for reasons that frankly escape me - excellent fielder but he's had one solid year at the plate in the last 3 years, no good ones, and 2 less than average OF years - but that love is his potential, not his present reality. This team needs Rosario to be an everyday player and we need him to hit if the team is going to be successful.

Your stats are definitely off in 2019. Kepler had significantly better on base, OPS, and OPS+, along with 20 more points of slugging. I think you might want to take another look at their stats from last year.

 

Kepler's batting line last year was better than Rosario has ever had in his entire career. If that's "one solid year and no good ones," I think you might be putting the conclusion before the evidence.

    • Danchat, Dman, Major League Ready and 1 other like this
Some context is needed for “swinging out of the zone,” and what that means. Is that ball bouncing in the dirt or a foot outside? Or a half inch outside of the zone. How many of those swings outside the zone produced hits relative to some other players. Maybe X player is swinging at X number fewer pitches outside of the zone, but it’s producing C fewer hits, OPS, more Ks, etc.

I’m not sure looking at 42% in 5 games vs 42% over 162 given all of the possible variables is even a remotely reliable way to definitively say, “See, Eddie lied.”

You have umps that call strikes outside of the zone, forcing players to chase a little (again, 5-6 games).

Was the swing outside the zone with zero strikes, and in an area the hitter can handle? Or, a two strike flailing swing.

For example, Eddie hit a home run against the cards on a ball just off the plate inside. That’s not a negative outcome. That’s a better outcome than letting it go and rolling over something down and away. How many of those are built into Eddie’s 42% historically vs. some other random with a 32%.

At the end of the day, I don’t really care as long he’s hitting .280 with 30+ bombas. Seems like people have forgotten....that’s pretty good. Especially for a guy probably batting 6th-7th in the lineup most nights.
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LA VIkes Fan
Jul 31 2020 01:50 PM

 

Your stats are definitely off in 2019. Kepler had significantly better on base, OPS, and OPS+, along with 20 more points of slugging. I think you might want to take another look at their stats from last year.

 

Kepler's batting line last year was better than Rosario has ever had in his entire career. If that's "one solid year and no good ones," I think you might be putting the conclusion before the evidence.

 

I rechecked and you're right - in 2019 Keppler had an .855 OPS, Rosario a .800 OPS. I think that's probably the most relevant measure. I guess I was overly influenced by the 2017 and 2018 seasons where Rosario out OPS'd Kepler .803 to .727 in 2018 and .836 to .737 in 2017. I should had said Rosario has been the best hitting OF over the last 3 season not in each of the last 3 seasons. Kepler did have a good year last year after two below average years. My bad. 

 

Overall, my concern is that we have a guy who has had an .800 OPS or higher each of the last 3 years since he's become a starter and we seem to focus more on his chase rate and walk rate than his accomplishments. Let's not try to "fix" him if the fix causes his overall game to suffer. Interestingly, for this year, after 5 games the best hitting OF on the team is Jake Cave in a landslide - .930 compared to Rosario at .644, Kepler at .633 and Buxton at .333. Way too early to care and not a reason to start Cave over the other 3, but interesting. Pitching ahead of the hitting early this year?

    • glunn likes this

 

 

Overall, my concern is that we have a guy who has had an .800 OPS or higher each of the last 3 years since he's become a starter and we seem to focus more on his chase rate and walk rate than his accomplishments. Let's not try to "fix" him if the fix causes his overall game to suffer. 

 

This I agree with. However, it's hard to know whether an attempted fix would improve or deteriorate his game until he tries it. I'm generally of the opinion that he's not maximizing his abilities at the moment, and with some tweaks, he'd be a more formidable hitter, and less frustrating to watch. (That last one may just be me.)

    • glunn and Twins33 like this
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LA VIkes Fan
Jul 31 2020 04:02 PM

 

This I agree with. However, it's hard to know whether an attempted fix would improve or deteriorate his game until he tries it. I'm generally of the opinion that he's not maximizing his abilities at the moment, and with some tweaks, he'd be a more formidable hitter, and less frustrating to watch. (That last one may just be me.)

I generally agree, I'm just concerned about his poor results so far this year. I'm probably just too impatient. Particularly since most of the rest of the team isn't hitting either.  

To me, Rosario looks like he is going to the plate for some PAs with an active, "don't swing" approach. He is not looking for a strike to do damage on and spitting on pitches outside the zone, he is just looking to take pitches.

That's not really being disciplined. He needs to be identifying pitches as balls or strikes and, as Doug Latta says, deciding to NOT swing at balls. That is not what seems to be happening.

 

This is probably better than him just swinging at everything every time. It may force pitchers to throw more strikes once the word is out. It may just mean pitchers begin to fish with their first pitch of a PA to see which approach Eddie has chosen to use this time up and then pitch accordingly. 

And maybe he actually develops better strike zone judgment by seeing more pitches per plate appearance and eventually learning what he should and should not be swinging at and this is just the first necessary step down that road. I'm hopeful.

Seriously:

If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away. It is not important that he should mature as soon as an apple-tree or an oak. Shall he turn his spring into summer?
—Henry David Thoreau
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Channing1964
Aug 02 2020 01:40 PM

Your stats are definitely off in 2019. Kepler had significantly better on base, , and If that's "one solid year and no good ones," I think you might be putting the conclusion before the evidence.

Well thank you for the stats, but here are the facts. Eddie Rosario has played like an All Star since 2017 and especiallyecia

Your stats are definitely off in 2019. Kepler had significantly better on base, OPS, and OPS+, along with 20 more points of slugging. I think you might want to take another look at their stats from last year.
 
Kepler's batting line last year was better than Rosario has ever had in his entire career. If that's "one solid year and no good ones," I think you might be putting the conclusion before the evidence.

Why do we need statistical evidence? What I have seen is Eddie Rosario playing like an All Star since 2017. If you dont like him that is your right of course. You can show us all the stats you want but the facts are he has played like an All Star since 2017 and he got shafted royally in 2018 in my opinion when he and Escobar were basically the only bright spots. Go back and look at the depth chart and tell me who should start in left field. Cave...NOT.. Wade... NOT..I am a Twins FAN. And I Love Eddie Rosario. How can anybody call themselves a fan and not love him. Maybe you could go write for the White Sox? Never mind Im not sure how many of them can read. (Pun)