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The Time Has Come to Begin Phasing Out Eddie Rosario


Nick Nelson
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I would like to defend his base running yesterday.  It was not a bad decision to try and take third.  If the throw goes home, like most of the time it will, he gets praised for a great heads up running play, but the defense decided get the sure out and let run score.  Chances of scoring from third go up a lot with less than 2 outs.  If there were no out or 2 outs I would feel different but with 1 out I am okay with him trying to sneak in there thinking the throw would be going home.  Now, that being said, if he had just ran hard the whole way he may have just made it outright. 

That's why the runner is supposed to pick up the ball when he's rounding second and watch where the throw is going instead of making an assumption...

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I don't know, he drives me crazy sometimes and I really want to see Kiriloff and more of Rooker but Eddie isn't quite as bad as you're making him out to be. His improvement this year as far showing more patience seems real. And if his BABIP were normal (.300-ish is normal where Eddie is at .235) I think his slashline would be fairly impressive. His defense is terrible though and that just doesn't make sense. 

 

Eddie's BABIP is lower this year because he is making a lot of weak contact even when he is ahead in the count. He isn't swing at balls 16" off the plate this year. Consequently, he is striking out less. He also isnt getting anything to hit because pitchers know they can get him to swing on borderline pitchers or even pitches off the plate when they are behind in the count.

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Rosario has been the best hitting Twins OF for the past 30 days, at a time the team has struggled to score runs. And you want to phase him out now?

 

Buxton only has 62 ABs in the past 30 days but his OPS is 65 points higher. Having said this I would not phase him out right now either. However, I would give Rooker an opportunity to earn the job.

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Maybe it's just me. But let's take a look: the Twins are 5-1 over the past 6 games. During those games, Eddie's batted .285 with 2 HR and 7 RBI. He's struck out once. And now we're calling for his head?!?! Sure he made a bad play in the field and a baserunning error in the loss - but Max Kepler had done the same would this article be published?

 

Listen, I get that Eddie makes some crazy plays that don't pass the eye test. And in today's world of about a billion stat categories, you can cherry pick a bunch of categories where Rosario is below average. But a lot of these arguments are crazy.

This is not a reaction to yesterday's game, or the last week, which is why much broader statistics were used to make the case that Rosario has been a sub par contributor dating back to last year. 

And no, if Kepler would've done the same the article would not have been published since, A: Kepler is under contract for several years, not a non-tender candidate in the offseason; and B: Kepler was arguably the team's most valuable player last year, Rosario probably not in the top ten. 

 

For your talk about "cherry-picking categories" (I literally shared his entire Statcast profile, which is almost all below average, and fWAR which is an all-consuming performance metric) you sure seem to be zeroing in on non-existent argument here and ignoring the one that was actually made. This ain't about the "eye test." Look at the numbers. They speak for themselves.

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Rosario is too good a hitter to just get rid of for nothing. Perhaps he can be traded in the off-season for what we may need (closer, starter, catcher) but to just let him walk would be foolish. 

The Twins tried to trade him last winter and got no bites. He has minimal trade value because other teams can see all the numbers and indicators I've shared above, and no one wants to give up prospects for the right to pay $8M for that.

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Nick, while I respect you a lot, I disagree on Rosario. This year, the team offense is average & Rosario is 5th in A.L. in RBIs. That's a special talent he possesses & creates runs otherwise nonexistent. He comes thru in the clutch. Consistently. Please try to see his good points.

 

His throwing arm is special and impacts wins and losses also. There are lies, damned lies and statistics. You can focus on things like low OBP or some sabrmetric stats that degrade him but I think he’s the heart and soul of this team.

 

How do you explain leading the team in RBIs over Nelson Cruz in 2019 and now while Cruz has much gaudier statistics than Eddie, Eddie uses his ability to come through in the clutch and have more RBIs than Cruz?? If players don’t drive in the runs then they’ll never score and Twins will lose more. His throwing arm is really special. Who else can throw strikes from the warning track to 2nd for outs or to home for outs.

 

To be honest, his value this year is more than any other outfielder the Twins possess . I would not be looking to phase him out or let him go via free agency.

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Maybe the Twins could resign Nick Punto to fill this role...

Yeah that would probably make the Eddie detractors happy. Put a .198 hitter in there and watch the winning stop and pine for the days of the 2019 and 2020 team RBI leader and the winning.

 

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Given Kiriloff and Larnach haven't played at all in AAA I would start them there next year and the player that does the best out of the gate gets called up to replace Jake Cave in LF sometime in 2021. If the FO doesn't want to do that try to trade him to a NL WC team like the Marlins or non AL central WC team at the trade deadline that needs a corner OF for whatever they can get.

 

No sense messing with things this year though. There is no guarantee the prospects light the world on fire in 1 week this year when playoff rosters get locked on September 15th. Best case is Rosie or maybe Rooker gets hot in the playoffs.

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No, but Cruz is a free agent this winter. If the universal DH is here to stay, all the sudden his market is much bigger than it previously was. I'd expect he'd prefer to stay with the Twins, but what if a team like the Dodgers decides they need him? Once he hits the open market, there's no telling what might happen.

At his age and the way he has fit in with the Twins plus the fact, I think, that he loves playing for the Twins, the Twins should be able to match any one year deal.

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Maybe it's just me. But let's take a look: the Twins are 5-1 over the past 6 games. During those games, Eddie's batted .285 with 2 HR and 7 RBI. He's struck out once. And now we're calling for his head?!?!

 

Based on the above three sentences, the argument could be made that Eddie Rosario just saved the season. They were down and out in a 6 game losing funk and Eddie rose to the occasion. Without that, the Twins may be sunk now. Keep in mind the league average is about. 245 and his .285 in a desperately critical period is 40 points higher. Who else performed to that level offensively when the Twins were on the mat and the referee was counting....

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Trading Eddie after a down year for most our lineup doesn’t sound like the best plan to win in 2021. Wouldn’t extend him, but I also wouldn’t rely on a rookie to pick up where he left off. My preference would be to have him play out one more season and then QO him; which at 30 years old I’d expect him to reject in favor multi year deal.

 

Aren't you assuming the upcoming CBA will have the same system in place, which I highly doubt.

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How do you explain leading the team in RBIs over Nelson Cruz in 2019 and now while Cruz has much gaudier statistics than Eddie, Eddie uses his ability to come through in the clutch and have more RBIs than Cruz??

That's pretty easy to explain actually... He consistently hits in the middle of the order, behind Cruz, who has an absolutely elite on-base percentage (his OBP is over 100 points higher than Rosario's). Sure, he sometimes comes through in the clutch, but he just as often kills rallies by swinging at pitches early in the count, way outside of the strike zone, and hitting a weak pop-up or ground ball. Rosario's Win Probability Added this season is just barely positive, and he trails Kepler, Cruz, Sano, Polanco, and Donaldson in that category, which is indicative of "clutch performance". He was only 8th place among Twins hitters in that category last season as well.

 

Sure, he makes a lot of exciting plays, and I love it when he guns runners down on the basepaths. But along with those exciting plays comes many awful decisions to throw home when he has no chance at the runner, allowing other runners to advance and likely costing the Twins as many (or more) runs than he prevents. These are lessons that Major League outfielders are supposed to learn throughout their careers, and it doesn't seem like Rosario ever learns these lessons. There is no doubt that he's an exciting player who is capable of making big plays, but he also leads the team in dumb plays. I'll take consistent productivity over excitement any day.

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Maybe it's just me. But let's take a look: the Twins are 5-1 over the past 6 games. During those games, Eddie's batted .285 with 2 HR and 7 RBI. He's struck out once. And now we're calling for his head?!?!

 

Based on the above three sentences, the argument could be made that Eddie Rosario just saved the season. They were down and out in a 6 game losing funk and Eddie rose to the occasion. Without that, the Twins may be sunk now. Keep in mind the league average is about. 245 and his .285 in a desperately critical period is 40 points higher. Who else performed to that level offensively when the Twins were on the mat and the referee was counting....

Oooookay, hold the phones here. Let's break this down.

 

Rosario's 7 RBIs over the past week:

 

  • 2-run HR against CWS when they were already up 6-1
  • RBI single and solo HR in losing effort against DET on Sunday
  • 3-run double on Monday on a grounder down the first base line that (fortunately) hit the bag instead of turning into an out

 

During this span he also cost the Twins runs by missing plays in the outfield and making multiple outs on the base paths. So, no, he did no by any stretch of the imagination "save the season."

 

Meanwhile, as the Twins lost six straight games in the previous week, Rosario went 2-for-17 with zero XBH and zero RBIs. 

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In this forum I have expressed my displeasure with both Sano and Berrios. Immediately afterwards they seem to have both gotten on track and are playing well. I will use my power of looking foolish and do the same with Rosario!

 

We have a lot of great outfield prospects waiting to be promoted. Rosario currently seems to be somewhat of a liability in the field and on the base paths. Since we are pretty much guaranteed to make the playoffs in this unusual season, it seems like it would be a good idea to bring up a Larnach or Kiriloff and see how they fare at this level. I do not believe it would be so terrible to cost us a playoff spot. And I don't even think it would make that much difference on where we are seeded for the playoffs. There are enough double-headers that we could plug and play a lot of them in and see how they do.

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Anyone else think that if Eddie's name were "Matt Johnson" we might be calling him a hard-nosed ballplayer that leaves everything on the field day-in-and-day out?

 

Maybe it's just me. But let's take a look: the Twins are 5-1 over the past 6 games. During those games, Eddie's batted .285 with 2 HR and 7 RBI. He's struck out once. And now we're calling for his head?!?! Sure he made a bad play in the field and a baserunning error in the loss - but Max Kepler had done the same would this article be published?

 

Listen, I get that Eddie makes some crazy plays that don't pass the eye test. And in today's world of about a billion stat categories, you can cherry pick a bunch of categories where Rosario is below average. But a lot of these arguments are crazy.

 

Eddie's a part of the Twins biosphere. Would his skill set be a match for every team? No. But he fits well with the mix here. His numbers - the real ones (HR, AVG, RBI and team wins) speak for themselves.

 

Cool racism accusation bro!  Can you name any current white Twins player with mediocre to bad stats that continues to get playing time AND praise for hustle/hard-nosed play/leaving it all on the field?

 

If not, maybe we can accept the author's argument on it's merits, rather than conduct a search for implicit bias in an owner of a site that has been quite progressive in the current climate.

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How do you explain leading the team in RBIs over Nelson Cruz in 2019 and now while Cruz has much gaudier statistics than Eddie, Eddie uses his ability to come through in the clutch and have more RBIs than Cruz?? If players don’t drive in the runs then they’ll never score and Twins will lose more. His throwing arm is really special. Who else can throw strikes from the warning track to 2nd for outs or to home for outs.

 

To be honest, his value this year is more than any other outfielder the Twins possess . I would not be looking to phase him out or let him go via free agency.

 

I would explain 2019 by pointing out that Rosario had ONE more RBI than Cruz despite 69 more PA's.  I would also point out that Rosario had 285 PA's with at least one runner on, and 173 with at least one runner in scoring position--Cruz had 248 and 135.  So despite having more total PA's, PA's with runners on, and PA's with runners in scoring, Eddie only managed one more RBI--this proves Cruz is a much better hitter, which is borne out by pretty much every stat.

 

The story is largely the same this year.  Rosario again has exactly ONE more RBI than Cruz, but has 3 more PA's.  Although that is small, as is the number of PA's with runners on (72 for Rosario, 68 for Cruz), the big difference is in PA's with runners in scoring position--44 for Rosario, and only 31 for Cruz.  Rosario has more RBI's, both this year and last, because he not only has more opportunities to drive in runs, he has better opportunities as well.

 

As for the clutch argument--this year, Rosario has had 14 PA's labelled high leverage by fangraphs.  He is slashing .154/.214/.462/.676, with only 2 xbh, a wOBA of .279, a wRC+ of 72, with only 30.8% hard contact (that is, he's not getting hurt by at 'em balls).  Cruz has had 9 high leverage PA's, and is slashing .286/.444/.286/.730 with no xbh, a wOBA of .355, a wRC+ of 123, and 66.7% hard contact.  For a bigger sample size, here's high leverage stats for 2019.

 

Rosario--49 PA's, .364/.408/.636/1.045, 8 xbh, .421 wOBA, 166 wRC+, 37.2% hard hit

 

Cruz--42 PA's, .323/.500/.484/.984, 5 xbh, .402 wOBA, 153 wRC+, 40.9% hard hit

 

So a little bit of an advantage to Rosario, but not hugely so, and one that has not repeated itself this year.  It's also worth noting Cruz only had 53.5% strikes in high leverage, while Rosario had 62.8%.  Given that Rosario only walked 8.2% of the time, whereas Cruz walked 26.2% of the time, I think we can fairly assume that Cruz was getting far fewer pitches to hit than Rosario, which can explain some differences as well.

 

Overall, Rosario's HR and RBI numbers look great, but are largely situationally driven, and paper over the other holes in Rosario's game.  You know, kinda the point Nick was trying to make.

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How do you explain leading the team in RBIs over Nelson Cruz in 2019 and now while Cruz has much gaudier statistics than Eddie, Eddie uses his ability to come through in the clutch and have more RBIs than Cruz??

If Cruz got to bat behind himself he'd have a lot more RBI. He's on base 40% of the time.

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Buxton only has 62 ABs in the past 30 days but his OPS is 65 points higher. Having said this I would not phase him out right now either. However, I would give Rooker an opportunity to earn the job.

 

Rooker is going to remind us of Willingham and Delmon Young in LF.  He's a DH, and he'll probably be a good one. 

 

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Cool racism accusation bro!  Can you name any current white Twins player with mediocre to bad stats that continues to get playing time AND praise for hustle/hard-nosed play/leaving it all on the field?

 

If not, maybe we can accept the author's argument on it's merits, rather than conduct a search for implicit bias in an owner of a site that has been quite progressive in the current climate.

Eddie Rosario is batting .245 and is 2nd on the Twins in both HR and RBI.  How are those "bad stats"?

 

The author of the game wrap (not this author) called him "stupid" which is absolutely inappropriate.

 

I don't accept the anyone's argument that Eddie Rosario is a bad player. Period. He hit 32 and drove in 100+ runs last year. He's got a top-10 arm and has made huge throws regularly.

 

Can you name a white player who hits 32 HR and drives in 100+ RBI and routinely guns guys down on the basepaths who gets called "stupid" by his own fans? Go ahead, I'll wait.

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Well it's a good thing that dudes who write on a blog don't get to make any decisions when it comes to who the twins sign and or phase out, etc.... I mean if the writers had any input whatsoever then the twins would have signed Cole, Ryu, and Wheeler this off-season. But they didn't, and I'm pretty sure that most of the dudes who write this stuff didn't really anticipate signing Hill and trading Grateral for Maeda. So the twins front office will do what they feel is best for the twins regardless of what any of us think or what any of these smart writers think also. My personal opinion is that the Twins will keep Rosario, and in 2021 if the Twins are in the thick of a playoff run they will keep him and probably let him walk because he will be a FA in 2022. If the Twins are not in a playoff run in 2021, then they will probably trade him at the deadline for a couple of prospects similar to Eduardo Escobar. It's how the Twins have operated for a long time. Plus just because the Twins have guys like Kirlloff, Rooker, etc.... doesn't mean those guys are going to produce anything over the course of a MLB season. They might not produce close to Rosario's supposedly terrible numbers, we aren't going to know unless someone gets hurt and they are thrown into duty. If that happens and one of these guys rake for 2 or 3 months straight then you have a log jam but right now for a team going for the playoffs the guys who got the twins here are going to be everyday type of players. So there is no real reason to get mad if someone suggests to quit playing this guy or that guy because they have absolutely no influence on a professional teams front office decisions. It's also good to know that guys like Rosario, and Sano, and Buxton etc.... could care less if something bad is written about them on here by people who don't make any decisions about this team. These guys are going to show up everyday and play as hard as they can at the time and I will be cheering for them to win. And I'll get mad because some guy didn't do well and I'll be excited when some other guy hit a game winning hit. I'll probably come in here and complain about this or that but I realize that I have zero influence over what is going on in those offices where the decisions are being made.

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Eddie's BABIP is lower this year because he is making a lot of weak contact even when he is ahead in the count. He isn't swing at balls 16" off the plate this year. Consequently, he is striking out less. He also isnt getting anything to hit because pitchers know they can get him to swing on borderline pitchers or even pitches off the plate when they are behind in the count.

Is it? I admittedly don't look at these stats that often but it appears Eddie's hard hit % is the 2nd highest of his career. 

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Eddie Rosario is batting .245 and is 2nd on the Twins in both HR and RBI.  How are those "bad stats"?

 

The author of the game wrap (not this author) called him "stupid" which is absolutely inappropriate.

 

I don't accept the anyone's argument that Eddie Rosario is a bad player. Period. He hit 32 and drove in 100+ runs last year. He's got a top-10 arm and has made huge throws regularly.

 

Can you name a white player who hits 32 HR and drives in 100+ RBI and routinely guns guys down on the basepaths who gets called "stupid" by his own fans? Go ahead, I'll wait.

If you're going to insinuate what you're trying to insinuate, you should at least get your facts straight. The author of the game wrap said that he made a "stupid mistake", which I think is totally accurate. This is the second game in a row where he partially stunted a rally with his bad baserunning.

 

Do you understand the point of the advanced statistics that a lot of us have cited? Have you ever tried digging just a bit deeper than batting average, home runs, and RBI. It's been decades since most MLB teams have relied primarily on those stats, and for good reason. You're using cherry-picked, circumstantial evidence to insinuate that the reason a lot of us want to move on from Rosario is because of his race. I find that insinuation incredibly disgusting. Either provide some actual, solid evidence or stop trotting out this BS.

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Eddie Rosario is batting .245 and is 2nd on the Twins in both HR and RBI.  How are those "bad stats"?

 

The author of the game wrap (not this author) called him "stupid" which is absolutely inappropriate.

 

I don't accept the anyone's argument that Eddie Rosario is a bad player. Period. He hit 32 and drove in 100+ runs last year. He's got a top-10 arm and has made huge throws regularly.

 

Can you name a white player who hits 32 HR and drives in 100+ RBI and routinely guns guys down on the basepaths who gets called "stupid" by his own fans? Go ahead, I'll wait.

 

Well, that's not what happened.  The author said he made a stupid mistake--here's the quotation lifted directly from yesterday's game wrap.

 

"For the second consecutive day, Eddie Rosario made a stupid base running mistake that likely cost the Twins runs early in the game"

 

No where is he called stupid.  I'll also work on naming a current white player with Rosario's stats when you name a white player with your collection of old-school platitudes.

 

Your middle paragraph, wherein you state you don't accept anyone's argument that Rosario is a bad player, is also problematic, for a couple of reasons.  Number one, it suggests you are not open to changing your mind, even if evidence suggests it; head-in-the-sand thinking is dangerous.  Second, no one is saying Rosario is a bad player; the whole point of the article is that Rosario costs the team runs, and potentially wins, due to his continued overaggression, and eroding skills everywhere except homers, RBI's, and throwing.  If he was inexpensive, or at a position with little depth, it's not necessarily grounds for moving on, but neither of those two conditions are true.

 

Rosario is more expensive than the average player.  He also plays at the Twins greatest position of strength, where much, if not all of his production could conceivably be replaced by players making less than 10% of what Rosario does.  That money can be used to extend Berrios, re-sign Cruz/Odo, lock in a young player to a Kepler/Polanco type deal, or try and obtain additional talent on the free agent market.

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Is it? I admittedly don't look at these stats that often but it appears Eddie's hard hit % is the 2nd highest of his career. 

 

Eddie's hard hit rate is indeed the second highest of his career.  That being said, his 37.5% hard hit rate is good for 106th out of 154 qualified hitters, which puts him in about the 31st percentile.

 

He also has the highest soft contact rate of his career, at 21.9%.  That puts him 13th out of those same 154 qualified hitters, which is in the 91st percentile.  By any definition, Eddie does not do a good job of making solid contact.

 

Eddie's zone rate (percent of pitches that would be called strikes) is 34%, which is second lowest in all of baseball--only Bryce Harper sees fewer pitches in the zone.  Pitchers are still able to keep Rosario off the bases (as evidenced by his .311 OBP, 121st out of the 154 hitters) without having to give him pitches to hit.

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Eddie Rosario is batting .245 and is 2nd on the Twins in both HR and RBI.  How are those "bad stats"?

 

The author of the game wrap (not this author) called him "stupid" which is absolutely inappropriate.

 

I don't accept the anyone's argument that Eddie Rosario is a bad player. Period. He hit 32 and drove in 100+ runs last year. He's got a top-10 arm and has made huge throws regularly.

 

Can you name a white player who hits 32 HR and drives in 100+ RBI and routinely guns guys down on the basepaths who gets called "stupid" by his own fans? Go ahead, I'll wait.

 

I also did come up with a comparable white player to Rosario--CJ Cron.  Last year Cron hit a homer every 20 PA's, Rosario did it every 18.4.  Look at the RBI/PA rates for various scenarios below.

 

Rosario with none on--18 RBI in 305 PA--.06 RBI/PA

Cron with none on--14 RBI in 284 PA--.05 RBI/PA

 

Rosario with men on--91 RBI in 285 PA--.32 RBI/PA

Cron with men on--64 RBI in 215 PA--.30 RBI/PA

 

Rosario with RISP--79 RBI in 173 PA--.46 RBI/PA

Cron with RISP--55 RBI in 121 PA--.45 RBI/PA

 

Cron isn't known for gunning down players on the basepaths sure, but that's not something first basemen get a chance to do much.  Cron did rate out better defensively than Rosario, by a lot; of the 24 players who logged at least 500 innings in left field in 2019, Rosario was 21st in UZR/150, 18th in errors, and dead last in range (his arm was 3rd).

 

Cron was 20th out of 29 first basemen by UZR/150, 26th in errors, and 8th in range (there's no measurement for arm for first basemen).

 

None of us were upset when the Twins let Cron go, despite the fact that he is reasonably comparable to Rosario in Rosario's alleged strengths.

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An interesting set of responses to the post, heavily leaning against Rosario. 

My best guess is that the Twins will think long and hard about Rosario ... sometime in late November. Phasing him out now is a head scratcher. I don't get any part of a September thought at Eddie's playing time. Clearly for management it is a no brainer.

Due to Covid 19, there will be a number of changes this winter. That we can count on. The time to evaluate the offseason is only a little while off, closer than the start of this season. We should all just chill out and hope Kepler feels better and Buxton finds his groove. Nice home run by Donaldson - time for a beer.

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On occasion Eddie's recklessness reminds me of Carlos Gomez with the Twins (without the speed). Somehow that is part of his charm. I do agree that eventually we need an OF replacement for him. An unproven rookie isn't the answer for a team that should be competing for division titles. I can see a rookie being mentored and weaned in LF next year behind a veteran FA signing, such as Kevin Millar mentioned by an earlier post. I'd like to see Eddie moved after this season, maybe for some 3B depth to protect JD.

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I also did come up with a comparable white player to Rosario--CJ Cron. Last year Cron hit a homer every 20 PA's, Rosario did it every 18.4. Look at the RBI/PA rates for various scenarios below.

 

Rosario with none on--18 RBI in 305 PA--.06 RBI/PA

Cron with none on--14 RBI in 284 PA--.05 RBI/PA

 

Rosario with men on--91 RBI in 285 PA--.32 RBI/PA

Cron with men on--64 RBI in 215 PA--.30 RBI/PA

 

Rosario with RISP--79 RBI in 173 PA--.46 RBI/PA

Cron with RISP--55 RBI in 121 PA--.45 RBI/PA

 

Cron isn't known for gunning down players on the basepaths sure, but that's not something first basemen get a chance to do much. Cron did rate out better defensively than Rosario, by a lot; of the 24 players who logged at least 500 innings in left field in 2019, Rosario was 21st in UZR/150, 18th in errors, and dead last in range (his arm was 3rd).

 

Cron was 20th out of 29 first basemen by UZR/150, 26th in errors, and 8th in range (there's no measurement for arm for first basemen).

 

None of us were upset when the Twins let Cron go, despite the fact that he is reasonably comparable to Rosario in Rosario's alleged strengths.

Fair enough. I think Cron is a bit of a stretch for various reasons, but his prior season in TB is probably a good comparison.

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