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Eddie Bombing the Baseball

Posted by Ted Schwerzler , 24 April 2019 · 1,089 views

minnesota twins eddie rosario
It’s April 24 and the Minnesota Twins have played 21 games during the 2019 Major League Baseball season. In that time, left fielder Eddie Rosario has taken the American League by storm being a co-owner of the home run lead, and he’s spearheading an offensive outburst not generally seen around these parts. It wasn’t long ago that Rosario looked the part of an All Star, but where is all of this coming from?

Through 21 games, Rosario has already tallied ten dingers on the season. That puts him on pace for over 70 on the season, and it’s the fastest any player in Twins history has ever reached double-digits. When you’ve got that much power production this quickly it becomes hard to fly under the radar. At the 2018 All Star break Twins fans saw Rosario own a .311/.353/.537 slash line with 19 homers however, and that story didn’t have an entirely great ending. Figuring out how this may be different is key for the continued success of the budding star.

After racing out to gaudy numbers in 2018, Rosario finished the season owning just a .622 OPS in his final 45 games and sending another five balls out of the park. His year ended in the middle of September and the tale of the first half seemed like a distant memory. Fast forward to today and we’re once again in the midst of a hot start. The .274/.315/.679 slash line is a pretty one, but there’s a couple of inputs to the batted ball profile that should make us smile.

As a free swing who tends to expand the zone, and rarely take walks, we need to view Rosario’s approach through a different lens. He’s chased 42% of the time in 2019 and whiffed on 11% of pitches. Neither of those occurrences are beyond career norms, and his 79% contact rate is a new high. When making contact in the zone, he’s doing so at nearly 90%, essentially daring opponents to throw strikes. It isn’t where he’s swinging though, as much as it is how he’s making contact.

On the season Rosario owns a career best 39.7% hard hit rate. This is a 3% improvement from 2018 and is a 7% jump from his career average. On batted balls, only 39% are being hit on the ground with 50% being fly balls and 10.3% being line drives. Elevating the ball is certainly a positive trend, and it’s a direct reflection of a significant launch angle increase. On base hits during 2018, Rosario had an average launch angle of just 13.5 degrees. This season, that number is all the way up to 22.3 degrees.

From a spray perspective, you could call Rosie the left handed Brian Dozier. All the way up to a 52.9% pull rate, all but one of Eddie’s home runs have been hit to the right side of centerfield. The concentration on power was strong that way in 2018 as well, but the final pull percentage landed at 43.4%. This isn’t to say that Rosario won’t find success going the other way as pitcher’s attack him more on the outside. What we can see immediately is that Eddie is putting strong swings on balls he can yank to his strong side.

For now, we’re dealing with a small sample size. Knowing how much action is left this season, we’ll have plenty of time for this to all normalize. The early season power surge is reflective of a guy getting more loft while hitting the ball significantly harder. That’s a straightforward path to these types of results, but it’s comforting to note that the results aren’t coming with the caveat of an approach that has changed in any negative or impactful way.

Lost in all this offensive narrative is that Rosario has regained a focus in the outfield that rounds himself into something special. Putting up six defensive runs saved through his first 165 innings, and notching four outfield assists in the early going, he’s again a guy you don’t want to test in the grass either.

I’d be willing to bet any sum of money that Rosario won’t wind up with 70 home runs in 2019. He’s not going to hit 10 every 20 games, and there will be a month or weeks in which he experiences a real slump. For a guy that looked to display his absolute ceiling a season ago however, it’s comforting to see that even if that may be the height of things, the floor is a pretty darn good player as well.

For more from Off The Baggy, click here. Follow @tlschwerz

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MMMordabito
Apr 24 2019 03:49 PM

"Lost in all this offensive narrative is that Rosario has regained a focus in the outfield that rounds himself into something special. Putting up six defensive runs saved through his first 165 innings, and notching four outfield assists in the early going, he’s again a guy you don’t want to test in the grass either."

 

Love this part

 

He almost got the 5th assist last night ... That non-out on Correa when he initially mishandled the ball on the track may have been his most impressive throw of the season.

    • tarheeltwinsfan and nclahammer like this