Rosario just experienced his worst season over the last three years. Don’t be fooled by home runs and RBI
Eddie Rosario was the primary cleanup hitter in the 2019 Twins lineup. It didn’t seem Rocco Baldelli ever considered changing that, despite Rosario ranking ninth in OPS on the Twins.
While a lot of fans may have just looked at the career highs in home runs and RBIs with 32 and 109 respectively, those stats don’t hold much weight compared to some others. In a season where the home run record in the league was broken by 671, Rosario's 32 home runs puts him at 44th in baseball. Rosario tallied a career high in runs batted in because he was hitting fourth. He had more opportunities to drive in runs than anyone else. Here are some fun rankings among all Twins hitters.
- Most pitches seen with RISP
- Second-most pitches seen with anyone on base
- Most pitches seen with go-ahead run on base
A lot of players would drive in 100+ runs when hitting behind Kepler, Polanco, and Cruz every day.
Back to home runs, the best way to measure if a hitter would have hit as many as he did without help from the altered baseball is to look at the exit velocity and launch angle. Rosario finished 175th among all hitters with an 89.1 MPH average exit velocity and an average launch angle of 16.7 degrees. The average home run was hit 103.5 MPH with a launch angle of 28 degrees. Rosario’s home runs were hit 102.1 MPH at a 29 degree launch angle. It’s a safe bet to say the home run numbers will drop next season.
Rosario continued to trend downward in 2019
The way Eddie Rosario's stats have trended over the past three seasons would make you think he is leaving his prime age, not entering it. The 28-year-old peaked in 2017 and ever since has slowly been declining statistically despite being seen by some as the face of the franchise. This chart exemplifies his drop since 2017:
The slugging is definitely solid, but his on-base percentage is extremely underwhelming, the seventh-worst in baseball among qualified hitters. His wRC+ was close to being exactly 100, which is league average.
Plate discipline is the key problem
Now that MLB pitchers have adjusted and realized Eddie simply can’t help himself from swinging, they have stopped throwing strikes. This graph is just shocking at how little adjustment Rosario had.
If he gets that under control, he could be the dangerous hitter many people perceive him to be. The problem is that he has not shown that he can change.
Fielding took a major step backward
Back in early August, Andrew Thares of Twins Daily pointed out something has happened to Eddie Rosario’s defense. The main stat to note is outs above average. Rosario finished with -17 outs above average. That was the worst in baseball by four runs. This came after -2 in 2017 and -3 in 2018.
Andrew also used an excellent chart to show why he regressed so far down that I will basically just be updating with Rosario’s end-of-season numbers:
The feet/second feet gained being multiplied by two is also explained in the original fielding post so go check it out.
Does he have any trade value?
Rosario is trending down both in the field and at the plate. He is currently 28-years-old and ZiPS projections expect him to continue to decline in AVG, SLG, OPS, wRC+, WAR, and really any stat except OBP because it’s hard to be worse than he was in that area. He is under team control for only two more seasons before he becomes a free agent in 2022. I don’t think teams will be willing to part with a number three starter for an average hitter and quite frankly a bottom three fielder this last season.
Eddie Rosario is a serviceable left fielder that is good enough to be in most playoff lineups. He is not a top four hitter that many have thought of him to be and he never will be unless he can fix his plate discipline. The Twins will likely shop him around this offseason, but he will not be the centerpiece of a trade for a starter. If he is traded for a middle of the rotation arm, the trade will be headlined by a Twins prospect.
For more trade talk about Rosario and pitchers the Twins could acquire check out these links: