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The Twins Shouldn't Give Up on Rosario

During the final two months of the regular season, plenty of people started advocating for a trade of Eddie Rosario. He did show some regression both offensively and defensively this year. But is it really time to pull the plug on Rosie’s career as a Twin?
Image courtesy of © Jordan Johnson-USA TODAY Sports
It’s not the end of the world to consider trading him at this point. Especially because his trade value should be pretty high right now. Afterall, regardless of how disappointing it might have ended, wasn’t a bad season at all. So, it makes a lot of sense to deal him in exchange for quality pitching. But it’s a tough pill to swallow when people try to justify this deal by saying that Rose is “washed”. He isn’t.

Perhaps the main reason people’s impression of Rosario was mostly negative after this season was the below average second half that he had. After slashing .282/.312/.529 (.841) and hitting 20 HR before the All-Star break, he slowed down in the second half, hitting .268/.286/.465 (.750) and 12 HR. Overall, the 2019 season was his worst season putting the ball in play, as he had his career-low BABIP, with .273.

He also chased too many out of the zone pitches, with his O-Swing% reaching a career high 46.3%. His ability to draw walks, which was never very good, seemed to regress this year (3.7 BB%), as it dropped way below his career average (4.4 BB%).

But that simply isn’t enough to establish Rosario as a bad hitter nor to say that he can’t contribute to the Twins success in the foreseeable future. For instance, despite regressing in the aforementioned aspects, he also showed a lot of improvement this year — maybe even more than regression.

For instance, his 38.8 hard-hit rate was a career high, which undoubtedly helped him achieve career highs in HR (32) and RBI (109). His weak-contact rate was just 1.9%, a career best. Also, both his barrel (8.5%) and solid-contact (7.1%) rates were comfortably above the MLB averages. His .330 xWOBA in 2019 was both better than league average (.319) and much better than his overall career mark in that stat (.307).

Another fun fact: Despite swinging at pitches outside the zone in an alarming rate this year, he did manage to strikeout the least times in his entire career. His 14.6% strikeout rate was the third best among all left fielders in the league and 13th in the entire AL. He struck out at a lower rate than Jose Altuve, Francisco Lindor, Carlos Santana and Mike Trout, to name a few.

If the chase of pitches outside of the zone is what bothers you about him, here’s a list of players who also had a O-Swing% of 40 percent or more: Javier Báez, Eduardo Escobar, Rafael Devers and Nicholas Castellanos. Rosario had better contact (80.3%) and SwStr% (11.7) than every single one of them.

On the other hand, Rosario had the worst year of his career defensively. Per Fangraphs, he had -6 DRS, -5.7 UZR and -11.1 DEF, which, among 24 left fielders with at least 500 innings on the field, rank 19th, 21st and 21st respectively. That’s terrible. But is it enough proof that he can’t be a good fielder anymore? Hardly. Since being called up in 2015, Rosario ranks second among left fielders with 37 assists and the fourth in putouts (893). He also ranks seventh in UZR (10.6) out of 22 left fielders with at least 2,000 innings. He isn’t nearly a great defender, but very few players at that position are. Only three had a positive Defensive Runs Above Average in the last five years. So I barely think we have reason to worry here.

There’s enough reason to believe Rosario can bounce back. There’s also a lot of justifiable reasons to want to trade him this winter. But saying he’s damaged goods definitely isn’t one of them.

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37 Comments

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Kelly Vance
Nov 09 2019 10:39 PM

Eddie is due for an All Star Game trip this year 

    • nclahammer, bighat and DannySD like this
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Richard Swerdlick
Nov 10 2019 05:30 AM
Nice article. However coul? it be that Eddie's 2nd half drop off was due to his ankle injury
    • birdwatcher, Wyorev, adorduan and 4 others like this

Eddie...Eddie...Eddie!I'm amazed by how many people think that the Minnesota Twins have another person in their organization ready to plug 109 RBI and 32 HRs into their line-up, and merely think someone else can step up even close to that level.They just aren't there...Wade? Cave?Rooker?Kirilloff?Larnach?None of them are the proven commodity that Rosario is offensively, or can even match him defensively for that matter, with the possible exception of Wade.

    • birdwatcher, Kelly Vance, LA VIkes Fan and 8 others like this
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yeahyabetcha
Nov 10 2019 07:06 AM
The Twins need to add starting pitching however they can. If it means sacrificing some offensive assets, so be it. There will be much competition from other teams in signing the free agents.
    • Twins33, TopGunn#22, alphanumeric and 2 others like this
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Tommygun921
Nov 10 2019 07:26 AM
Some how need to get him to be more selective at the plate. Which I'm sure has been tried plenty with no obvious success. Also might need a butterfly net out in left to keep him from getting distracted and stay more focused on the game could help him a bit defensively.

Usually a player is well paid before the fans turn on them, Eddie will need a new song for walk up music.

    • adorduan, tvagle and ewen21 like this
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Twins_Fan_For_Life
Nov 10 2019 07:38 AM
Second-half drop off could be due to injury. Or it could be due to the fact that pitchers figured out they don't have to throw the ball anywhere near the plate to get him out

Keep him for 1 more year until Kirilloff or Larnach are ready, unless you can get a top pitcher in trade with him being a piece of that trade. He won't bring a top pitcher in trade by himself. Left fielders are about the easiest position to fill. 

Thanks for a reasonably positive post about Eddie.Will second, or third, those comments above about his drop off being related to his injury.

    • tarheeltwinsfan and wabene like this
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stringer bell
Nov 10 2019 08:18 AM

I think Rosario is a good player overall, but I don't think he's invaluable. Most of that comes from the position he plays and the prospects coming in the high minors. The chance that one of those guys can play acceptable defense and OPS above .800 is pretty high. I don't want to minimize the HR and RBI numbers totally, but some of that is a function of batting behind Kepler, Polanco and Cruz most of the season. 

 

To some degree, Eddie is what he is. He is going to have stretches where he is one of the most dynamic offensive players in MLB, but he won't ever be selective and he'll have frustrating snags too. 

    • TopGunn#22, Sconnie, Dman and 1 other like this

I am glad to have you join my choir.I am really puzzled by the Eddie Hate.Your stats are terrific - and really help to dispel those erratic defensive metrics that people like to quote.Thanks.

 

Entry
Why the Eddie Rosario hate?
Last Update Oct 24 2019 08:27 AM

 

    • Steve Lein, Monkeypaws, bighat and 1 other like this
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Major League Ready
Nov 10 2019 08:34 AM

 

Eddie...Eddie...Eddie!I'm amazed by how many people think that the Minnesota Twins have another person in their organization ready to plug 109 RBI and 32 HRs into their line-up, and merely think someone else can step up even close to that level.They just aren't there...Wade? Cave?Rooker?Kirilloff?Larnach?None of them are the proven commodity that Rosario is offensively, or can even match him defensively for that matter, with the possible exception of Wade.

 

Rosario was one of the best players in the league the first half of 2018. Then, opposing pitchers started pitching him carefully. They threw him less and less to hit and he just kept swinging. Since 7/1-18, Rosario has had 851 PA and has generated 1.2 WAR. Cave has had 501 Pas and generated 2.3 WAR. Rosario OPS over that period is 752. During this period, 14 different Twins produced a higher OPS using a 275 PA minimum. Cave’s OPS was 804.

 

I still don’t believe Cave is an equivalent player but I am not sure how to justify that position when I look at the hard facts. I guess that’s because Rosario can be so great but he is also providing to be unreliable over an extended period. They should trade him whenever a good return is made available and I seriously doubt the return in ML ready pitching.

 

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jorgenswest
Nov 10 2019 09:05 AM
Baseball Prospectus has them pretty far apart. They factor in the quality of pitcher faced and quality of contact which might be driving the difference. Rosario’s DRC+ the last two years were 112 and 109. Cave’s were 93 and 89. DRC+ doesn’t believe these two players are equivalent.
    • birdwatcher and DannySD like this

I would like to hope that any true Twins fan would rather we keep Rosario while we get two top SPs. How can anyone be disappointed in his numbers? He is what he is, a free swinger. And sometimes that works, but seven times out of 10--as with every hitter--he will fail. We are a better team with him than without him, but without good starting pitching good hitting alone will not bring us the trophy we are seeking.

 

We have no idea if Kiriloff or Lewis will become the stars we hope, just as we are still not sure if we had been better off trading Buxton and Sano for good established pitchers years ago. I would prefer we trade prospects for pitching, but we have to get pitching.

It is obvious that Rosie is maddening. He looked unbelievable in the first half and people were chanting his name, wearing Super Rosario t-shirts. He can be so exciting and fun to watch. Then there is this perception that he is a lackadaisical hot dog, unfocused and undisciplined. I guess we have the definition of polarizing. I don't know if Eddie could find a little focus/ discipline/ maturity whatever you want to call it. I do know if he did he would be a cornerstone player. Clutch, exciting, a star. In the meantime I will gladly watch him as long as he is here. The Twins may end up trading some major league offensive talent for rotation upgrades and I'm ok with that as well.

I will add that I would like to see more fluidity in his batting order placement. Tell him right off the bat that he gets cleanup when he's hot and moves down when he's not.
    • kenbuddha likes this

People are ignoring the fact that when there are runners in scoring position, no Twin is better than Eddy bringing them home.:)

    • Kelly Vance, bighat and DannySD like this
I think the reasons you hear trade Eddie has more to do with other factors like 2 years if control at a price of 22-25 million. We have several strong prospects on the way and several solid players who can hold the position till the prospects are ready at a fraction of the price. And I only hear we should trade for pitching. So if.trading Eddy helps us get better pitching either through trade or cost savings, the we should do it. Otherwise we can wait.
    • TopGunn#22, Sconnie and kenbuddha like this
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Kelly Vance
Nov 10 2019 10:53 AM

 

Eddie...Eddie...Eddie!I'm amazed by how many people think that the Minnesota Twins have another person in their organization ready to plug 109 RBI and 32 HRs into their line-up, and merely think someone else can step up even close to that level.They just aren't there...Wade? Cave?Rooker?Kirilloff?Larnach?None of them are the proven commodity that Rosario is offensively, or can even match him defensively for that matter......

 

What I've been saying. Eddie is money man, and he just makes thinks happen. When Eddie comes up with runners on, i expect something to happen.

People are ignoring the fact that when there are runners in scoring position, no Twin is better than Eddy bringing them home.:)

Eddie led the team in RBI. By one.

 

RBI is an opportunity stat. Here are the Twins' 14 busiest batters in 2019, sorted by number of plate appearances with runners in scoring position (RISP), with runners driven in (RBI-HR) in those instances along with BA and SLG (in other words, ignoring walks since they rarely lead to the RBI we want):

 

173 - Rosario - 71 / .340 / .538

146 - Polanco - 48 / .333 / .561

135 - Cruz - 54 / .368 / .575

121 - Cron - 48 / .299 / .598

116 - Kepler - 44 / .309 / .474

113 - Schoop - 25 / .176 / .422

110 - Sano - 32 / .245 / .649

109 - Gonzalez - 35 / .298 / .447

76 - Buxton - 32 / .282 / .634

71 - Garver - 27 / .344 / .770

63 - Arraez - 21 / .327 / .382

57 -Adrianza - 16 / .295 / .477

53 - Cave - 16 / .244 / .400

50 - Astudillo - 16 / .267 / .311

 

(Just to be clear - credit is given for runners driven in on a HR, just not the batter himself.)

 

Eddie had fine efficiency in driving in runs when runners were on second and/or third, but so did Nelson and Byron (Buxton actually drove in a greater percentage than Rosario) at around the same 40% rate, while Max and Mitch weren't too far behind. Mostly what we are seeing and remembering is opportunity.

 

Additional note: AL and MLB average was just under 30%, and as a team the Twins were above 33%, so overall our hitters did pretty well at driving in runners in scoring position, and only a few individuals (*cough*Schoop*cough*) lagged the league.

    • Twins33 and TopGunn#22 like this

 

Eddie led the team in RBI. By one.

 

RBI is an opportunity stat. Here are the Twins' 14 busiest batters in 2019, sorted by number of plate appearances with runners in scoring position (RISP), with runners driven in (RBI-HR) in those instances along with BA and SLG (in other words, ignoring walks since they rarely lead to the RBI we want):

 

173 - Rosario - 71 / .340 / .538

146 - Polanco - 48 / .333 / .561

135 - Cruz - 54 / .368 / .575

121 - Cron - 48 / .299 / .598

116 - Kepler - 44 / .309 / .474

113 - Schoop - 25 / .176 / .422

110 - Sano - 32 / .245 / .649

109 - Gonzalez - 35 / .298 / .447

76 - Buxton - 32 / .282 / .634

71 - Garver - 27 / .344 / .770

63 - Arraez - 21 / .327 / .382

57 -Adrianza - 16 / .295 / .477

53 - Cave - 16 / .244 / .400

50 - Astudillo - 16 / .267 / .311

 

(Just to be clear - credit is given for runners driven in on a HR, just not the batter himself.)

 

Eddie had fine efficiency in driving in runners from second and third, but so did Nelson and Byron (Buxton actually drove in a greater percentage than Rosario) at around the same 40% rate, while Max and Mitch weren't too far behind. Mostly what we are seeing and remembering is opportunity.

That's a lot of numbers for second day of deer camp

    • ashbury, Steve Lein, Wyorev and 1 other like this
I think people are confusing ideas here....

The downside of Eddie is that he's getting more expensive, at a position where the minor league system is stacked. A mid market team can't afford Eddie at some point. I don't think this is that year. Also, people seem to not compare him to other corner outfielders.... He's not all that great compared to other corner players.

Over the last 18 months he's been ok compared to other corner outfielders. That's just what the overall offensive numbers show.

That doesn't make him bad. It doesn't mean they need to get rid of him. It means they need the minor league players to step up this year. Because eventually they won't be able to afford him and pitching.
    • Twins33, Kelly Vance, Dman and 3 others like this
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Crackedfungo
Nov 10 2019 12:12 PM

This topic is getting a great deal of responses.The following it TRUE:

 

1)Rosario IS the second player in 20 years to bat over .276 and have 32HRs and 105+ RBI

 

2)Rosario DOES get negatively impacted with defensive stats when Buxton is in the game (it is a by-product of the system)

 

3)You can basically exchange Kepler's walks for more hits for Rosario - which moves base-runners beyond a base?

 

4)NONE of our potential replacements will replace Eddie's offensive statistics in MLB in 2020, 2021, or 2022 - as evidence of this fact - how many times have the prospects even exceeded his 2019 in their minor league career (average, HRs, XBH, RBI, RBI% with RISP)?

 

5)The same armchair GMs that don't want to extend him for a few more years are the same people who wanted to give away Sano as recently as this past May/June

 

In short, it is embarrassing how many erroneous assessments we have seen from this group in 5 that do not own up to it after the fact.....

 

4)The same armchair GMs 

    • Steve Lein, Kelly Vance, Sam Morley and 1 other like this

That's a lot of numbers for second day of deer camp

You are kind. You might easily have said that the numbers were clearer than the verbiage. :)

    • tvagle likes this

This topic is getting a great deal of responses. The following it TRUE:

1) Rosario IS the second player in 20 years to bat over .276 and have 32HRs and 105+ RBI

2) Rosario DOES get negatively impacted with defensive stats when Buxton is in the game (it is a by-product of the system)

3) You can basically exchange Kepler's walks for more hits for Rosario - which moves base-runners beyond a base?

4) NONE of our potential replacements will replace Eddie's offensive statistics in MLB in 2020, 2021, or 2022 - as evidence of this fact - how many times have the prospects even exceeded his 2019 in their minor league career (average, HRs, XBH, RBI, RBI% with RISP)?

5) The same armchair GMs that don't want to extend him for a few more years are the same people who wanted to give away Sano as recently as this past May/June

In short, it is embarrassing how many erroneous assessments we have seen from this group in 5 that do not own up to it after the fact.....

4) The same armchair GMs


Point five is 100 percent not true, and stated in an insulting way.....

People are cherry picking stats. Look at all the stats, compared to corner outfielders.

It would be cool if we could discuss this politely....
    • kenbuddha and bighat like this
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diehardtwinsfan
Nov 10 2019 12:30 PM

 

I think the reasons you hear trade Eddie has more to do with other factors like 2 years if control at a price of 22-25 million. We have several strong prospects on the way and several solid players who can hold the position till the prospects are ready at a fraction of the price. And I only hear we should trade for pitching. So if.trading Eddy helps us get better pitching either through trade or cost savings, the we should do it. Otherwise we can wait.

Those prospects aren't ready now and I highly doubt they outperform Eddie in 2020. I think Rosario is a year to year kind of guy personally. I don't think he's going to get that pitching back, but I do want him on the team in 2020...

 

Let's not forget that Eddie was one of the few guys who hit well in the playoffs.

    • SQUIRREL, Mike Sixel, h2oface and 5 others like this

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