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Article: Twins 2019 Position Analysis: Left Field

eddie rosario jake cave marwin gonzalez brent rooker
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#1 Nick Nelson

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Posted 07 March 2019 - 08:21 PM

In 2018, Eddie Rosario cemented himself as one of the best-hitting outfielders in the game. But with all the buzz around Nelson Cruz's arrival, Byron Buxton's big spring, and Miguel Sano's (delayed) redemption tour, Eddie seems to be somewhat of a forgotten factor in the Twins offensive equation.

Something tells me he won't stay out of the spotlight for long.Projected Starter: Eddie Rosario
Likely Backup: Jake Cave

Depth: Marwin Gonzalez, Michael Reed, LaMonte Wade
Prospects: Brent Rooker, Akil Baddoo, Wade

THE GOOD

Rosario is the reigning Twins Daily MVP. He followed up a breakout 2017 campaign with an extremely similar follow-up, albeit one that skidded to a halt before the finish line due to injury. At his peak last summer, Rosario was an unstoppable force, torturing opposing hurlers who had no answer for his relentless attack at the plate.

In early May, he hit six home runs over a 10-game stretch. We all remember the three-homer outburst one Sunday in June that culminated with a walk-off against Cleveland. When he's in those zones, Rosario is liable to drive any pitch, anywhere, out of the park. And his competitive confidence also manifests in other ways, from crazy defensive gems to game-changing plays on the bases.

The positives of Rosario's brazen aggressiveness have always been counterbalanced, somewhat, by the negatives. But last year, his gambles – at the plate, on the bases, in the outfield – seemed to pay off more than ever. And that's not coincidence. At age 27, with 500 major-league games under his belt, Rosario's at that perfect point where prime athleticism mixes with ample experience and seasoning.

With this in mind, it wouldn't be shocking to see Rosario take another step forward. He absolutely has the ability to put up a .300+ average with 30+ home runs. But even if he holds steady he's a quality bat for the middle of the lineup, as well as an energizing spark plug in all phases.

Should he miss time, the Twins are set up well with Cave and Gonzalez, who has spent more time in left field than any other position over the last two years. Reed is also in camp also a solid backup candidate, though he's out of options. In the event of a prolonged absence for Rosario, the Twins might want to consider giving Wade and his bountiful OBP a look.

THE BAD

Tough to find a lot of downside at this position. Rosario has had his bouts with strained muscles, battling a triceps issue last spring and a quad issue in the second half that eventually ended his season. He's not without injury risk, but leads the Twins in plate appearances over the past two years, so... not a huge consideration. And the Twins are well equipped with depth in that event.

Rosario is earning $4.19 million this year in his first turn at arbitration. He's under team control through 2021. At that point, if we get there without an extension or trade, any number of promising outfield prospects may have emerged as a logical successor.

THE BOTTOM LINE

For the present and foreseeable future, left field belongs to Eddie Rosario. The ferocious free-swinger brings palpable excitement along with his valuable contributions at the plate and in the field.

Like the last four positions we've covered, Gonzalez's addition provides a crucial depth boost here. But unlike the infield spots, the Twins have no shortage of additional options in the outfield corners, which is helpful since Gonzalez figures to be locked at third for at least the first month.

***

Twins 2019 Position Analysis: Catcher
Twins 2019 Position Analysis: First Base
Twins 2019 Position Analysis: Second Base
Twins 2019 Position Analysis: Third Base
Twins 2019 Position Analysis: Shortstop

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#2 beckmt

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Posted 08 March 2019 - 07:46 AM

Rosario will probably have a decent year.Would be nice to see him take a step forward.Would like to see him extended, as that would make the next few years clear with Kirloff coming.Otherwise could see him a major trade chip if Rooker is able to cement 1B or Cron is better than we think.

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#3 rdehring

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Posted 08 March 2019 - 07:56 AM

Has been my favorite Twin since the year he battled Sano for the HR championship in the Appy League.When injured last year he had enough time remaining for one more hot streak which would have made his year ending numbers so much different.Hopefully, 2019 will be the year he is blessed with good health.  

 

Assuming good health, and not playing while injured, I see Rosario as ending 2019 with an average around .300, 30+ home runs and at least 100 rbi.Add 15+/- assists and 15-20 stolen bases and you have a very special season.That would mean he would also end 2019 with a new contract.

 

Eddie, Eddie, Eddie!

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#4 RatherBeGolfing

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Posted 08 March 2019 - 08:02 AM

I can't shake this bad gut feeling that Eddie is in for a serious regression year. No real reason, just a bad gut feeling.

 

Somebody help

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#5 Tom Froemming

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Posted 08 March 2019 - 09:06 AM

I love Rosie. Well, he drives me nuts sometimes, so it can definitely be a love-hate relationship, but the positives heavily outweigh the negatives. I think Twins fans as a whole have done so much fretting over the other young guys -- why can't Sano and Buxton stay healthy, will Max ever breakout? -- that Eddie has been somewhat underappreciated. Fun player to watch.

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#6 mikelink45

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Posted 08 March 2019 - 09:37 AM

His wild swinging puts balls all over the park which is great in this era of concentrated defenses.I love his talent, speed, and attitude.What I want to see is more movement on the bases. 

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#7 bobs

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Posted 08 March 2019 - 11:04 AM

Would love to see him get an extension similar to the ones Kepler and Polanco signed.Being under contract only adds to his potential trade value if that's the direction Falvine choose to go if guys like Wade, Kiriloff, Baddoo develop.Or, of course, they could trade one of the prospects and just keep Rosario.

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#8 rdehring

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Posted 08 March 2019 - 01:14 PM

 

Would love to see him get an extension similar to the ones Kepler and Polanco signed.Being under contract only adds to his potential trade value if that's the direction Falvine choose to go if guys like Wade, Kiriloff, Baddoo develop.Or, of course, they could trade one of the prospects and just keep Rosario.

100% in agreement that the Twins should extend Rosario.Because he is closer to free agency, maybe a year shorter than Kepler.

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#9 stringer bell

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Posted 08 March 2019 - 01:46 PM

I expect Rosario to spend quite a bit of time in right field. I believe Marwin is more comfortable in left, so if he’s in the OF for Kepler or Buxton, Eddie will move to right.
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#10 bunt_vs_the_shift

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Posted 08 March 2019 - 02:35 PM

In my 30 years as a Twins fan, it's hard to think of another player like Rosario that I've done such a 180 on. He's dramatically reduced the cringe-worthy defensive lapses and improved his pitch selection at the plate. On top of that, the way he consistently barrels up pitches when he does swing outside the zone is reminiscent of Kirby back in the day. He's gone from a guy who would drive me crazy to one of my favorite guys to watch and someone who will only occasionally drive me crazy... 

 

That said, the Minnesotan in me just automatically thinks about the possibility of injury.

 

if he did have to miss any significant time, what kind of does anyone know if Kiriloff plays any LF? Who knows where Gonzalez may be needed and Cave seems like a decent backup, but not someone I'd want to give extended run to if it can be helped. 

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#11 Nick Nelson

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Posted 08 March 2019 - 02:36 PM

 

I expect Rosario to spend quite a bit of time in right field. I believe Marwin is more comfortable in left, so if he’s in the OF for Kepler or Buxton, Eddie will move to right.

Indeed. Despite his history of extreme versatility, Gonzalez has notably never started a game in RF. So Rosario will be listed as a backup there and Marwin won't. 

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#12 Tomj14

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Posted 08 March 2019 - 03:05 PM

 

Would love to see him get an extension similar to the ones Kepler and Polanco signed.Being under contract only adds to his potential trade value if that's the direction Falvine choose to go if guys like Wade, Kiriloff, Baddoo develop.Or, of course, they could trade one of the prospects and just keep Rosario.

I agree on the extension because it makes him easier to trade. Isn't the new way in MLB to have a continuous stream of prospects so you don't have to ever give the"big" deal to anybody?

Isn't that the reason you don't go after a Manny or Bryce? (not just saying the Twins by any team?)

We all dream that any Twins prospect turns into one of them and we learned if they ever do they won't sign them, so the dreams have turned into I hope he is really, really good just not one of the best in the game.


#13 Mike Sixel

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Posted 08 March 2019 - 03:14 PM

I don't know that they sign him, though I would not be opposed. They have Lanarch and Rooker and Wade and Kiriloff, and that's just the ones I think about, there are more.

 

At some point, they'll need to rely on the cheaper options those guys offer, so I'm not sure what they are going to do.

 

If the relationship with Buxton is really broken, I expect he's traded after he has a monster season this year (and we all complain he was traded), Kepler moves to CF, Kiriloff or Lanarch in RF, and Eddie or someone else in LF.....

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It's IL now, btw, not DL.....


#14 bighat

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Posted 08 March 2019 - 04:00 PM

Think if you were drafting a fantasy team with just Twins players. Which position player would be your first pick? I think it would have to be Eddie Rosario. If healthy the guy's going to hit 28 HR, drive in 85 runs and bat .285. He's going to be hitting in the heart of the lineup (maybe 3rd/4th?) and is pretty much the straw that stirs the drink for this offense.

 

The Twins have a boatload of outfield prospects who haven't had a chance to play yet. We'll be lucky if one of them turns in the numbers Eddie did last year - I'd like to extend him but I'm not sure the Twins are of the same mind set.

 

Can't wait to see Eddie play this year - don't forget that arm, he'll certainly have his share of outfield assists!

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#15 yarnivek1972

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Posted 08 March 2019 - 06:29 PM

His wild swinging puts balls all over the park which is great in this era of concentrated defenses. I love his talent, speed, and attitude. What I want to see is more movement on the bases.


What I want to see is less running into outs on the bases.
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#16 Franz

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Posted 08 March 2019 - 07:26 PM

"He absolutely has the ability to put up a .300+ average with 30+ home runs."

 

I love the optimism. I just don't see it happening and I think it sets the bar for measuring Rosario's value to this team much too high. But I appreciate Nick's next line, "...But even if he holds steady he's a quality bat for the middle of the lineup, as well as an energizing spark plug in all phases." I think that's exactly right and I would be very happy to see the Twins extend him this year. I will pay money just to see a Rosario-Buxton-Kepler trio play the outfield.

 

Going back to expectations....let's consider...there were eight (qualifying) players in the AL who hit .300+ last year. Only three of them hit more than 30 homers. In fact, they were also the only three .300 hitters that hit more than 20! Their names were Trout, Martinez, and Betts.

 

I love watching Rosario play but he is nowhere near that class in pitch selection, and I think that aggressiveness is such an integral part of his personality that he will never develop into a selective hitter; the kind of hitter that can hit for both power and high++ average. If he ever does, his BABIP would have to be other-worldly.

 

Also, he doesn't play home games in Fenway :-)

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#17 LA VIkes Fan

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Posted 08 March 2019 - 08:39 PM

I love Rosie. Well, he drives me nuts sometimes, so it can definitely be a love-hate relationship, but the positives heavily outweigh the negatives. I think Twins fans as a whole have done so much fretting over the other young guys -- why can't Sano and Buxton stay healthy, will Max ever breakout? -- that Eddie has been somewhat underappreciated. Fun player to watch.


I couldn’t agree more. Rosario is the best non-pitcher we have, and may be the best player overall. Sure, he has some misadventures in the outfield and makes some baserunning mistakes, but he is always the most engaged guy out there and he is the guy that makes this team go when they’re in a streak. He is the potential superstar on this team, with a much better shot at getting there than Buxton or Sano .

I would love to see the Twins sign him long-term. He isn’t blocking anybody is any better than he is. We can move or trade Kepler, Buxton, Cron, or Cruz after he ages out if we need to create a spot. Sign this guy and keep him around or he will go be a superstar for somebody else.
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#18 howieramone2

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Posted 09 March 2019 - 10:30 AM

 

I don't know that they sign him, though I would not be opposed. They have Lanarch and Rooker and Wade and Kiriloff, and that's just the ones I think about, there are more.

 

At some point, they'll need to rely on the cheaper options those guys offer, so I'm not sure what they are going to do.

 

If the relationship with Buxton is really broken, I expect he's traded after he has a monster season this year (and we all complain he was traded), Kepler moves to CF, Kiriloff or Lanarch in RF, and Eddie or someone else in LF.....

There is nothing wrong with the Buxton relationship that money can't fix.


#19 Nick Nelson

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Posted 09 March 2019 - 03:56 PM

 

Going back to expectations....let's consider...there were eight (qualifying) players in the AL who hit .300+ last year. Only three of them hit more than 30 homers. In fact, they were also the only three .300 hitters that hit more than 20! Their names were Trout, Martinez, and Betts.

Rosario was hitting .300 with 19 HR at the end of July last year. Not at all unthinkable he could've gotten there if not for the quad injury. 

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#20 Sconnie

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Posted 09 March 2019 - 04:14 PM

There is nothing wrong with the Buxton relationship that money can't fix.

they have him locked up until he’s 28. With the injuries and his reliance on speed, I’m not sure it makes sense to extend him. If he hits like Torii he can move to RF like him.

If he can’t then you’ve got how many years committed to at best a 4th outfielder.

Torii played CF until his age 36 season, but if you believe the fielding metrics (great point of debate) his UZR150 went from 3.4 to -9 from his age 29 to 30 seasons.

So if Falvey offers Buxton a 5 year extension for 50 mil, would that mend the fence? I’m not sure. I’m not sure either side would do that.

I think Buxton gets traded too, prolly by the All Star break to bring back pitching.



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