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  • TD Top Prospects: #8 Eddie Rosario


    Cody Christie

    The Twins used their first three draft picks in 2010 on pitchers Alex Wimmers and Pat Dean along with shortstop Niko Goodrum. However, Eddie Rosario, the team's fourth round pick that year, has become the most highly touted prospect. The Puerto Rican outfielder signed for $200,000 and in his second season with Elizabethton, he led the Appalachian League with 21 home runs.

    From 2012-13 he continued to move up the ladder while showing a tremendous hit tool. While many of the Twins top prospects missed time in 2014 due to injury, Rosario's situation was more self-inflicted. Leading into the 2014 season, Rosario was suspended for 50 games after a second positive test for a drug of abuse.

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    Age: 23 (DOB: 9/28/1991)

    2014 Stats (A+/AA): .243/.286/.387, 20-2B, 3-3B, 8-HR, 40 RBI

    ETA: 2015

    2014 Ranking: 5

    What’s To Like

    Rosario’s hit tool has always been his ticket to the big leagues. Entering the 2014 season, he was a career .307 hitter in the minors. Last season saw a dip in his average (.243 over 346 AB) as he struggled to adjust to Double-A pitching after missing the season’s first 50 games. Even with the rough numbers, he’s still gotten on base over 34% of the time during his career.

    His quick hands allow him to hit the ball to all fields and he’s shown the ability at times to drive the ball. After heading back to the Arizona Fall League for the second straight year, he shined by hitting .330/.345/.410 with four doubles, two triples, 18 RBI and 10 steals. A few years after being asked to switch to second base, Rosario is back playing as an outfielder. He’s shown the ability to play all three outfield positions and his arm is strong. His flexibility to play multiple positions could help him in the long run.

    What’s Left To Work On

    One of Rosario’s calling cards has been his aggressiveness at the plate. This served him well in the lower levels of the minors but he’ll need to be able to improve his walk rate to keep his OBP higher as he moves through the system. With other stronger defensive center fielders in the system, it seems likely that he’ll have to play a corner outfield spot in Minnesota. That means he’ll have to show he can hit for power.

    This past season at Double-A his home run total doubled (from four to eight) in only 27 more at-bats. However, his slugging percentage dipped by 70 points. Another thing to keep an eye on is the fact that he came back from his drug suspension and for the first time in his career, didn't hit. His AFL numbers offer some promise that he might have come out of his slump but there is definitely some cause for concern.

    What’s Next

    Rosario will likely be headed back to Double-A to start next season with the assumption that he’ll move up to Triple-A at some point during the year. Minnesota’s outfield situation is a little murky so there’s a good chance he’ll make his big league debut in 2015 after being added to the 40-man roster. In the majors, he could be used at all three outfield positions but it seems likely that he’ll be slotted into a corner outfield role with Byron Buxton the likely center field option.

    If Rosario’s personal issues are behind him, he should get his professional career back on track in 2015. He has a great ability to hit the ball and he can use his speed to be an above average outfielder and a threat on the bases. His hit tool might be the best in the Twins system and that should be enough to get him to the major leagues. He might never win an MVP but he could make an All-Star team or two if he continues to progress.

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    "With other stronger defensive center fielders in the system, it seems likely that he’ll have to play a corner outfield spot in Minnesota. That means he’ll have to show he can hit for power."  

    I've never really cared for these comments especially when I have so often seen Twins hitters in the past (Mauer, Punto, Valencia, Young, Morneau, Cuddyer) try to hit for more power only to have their OBP and average diminish without adding much if any power..    If the Twins of the near future have Sano, Arcia, Dozier, Vargas, Buxton and maybe Plouffe then table setters become more valuable and if we have Arcia in one corner then I definitely want speed in the other corner to go with Buxton.   If he hits for power then fine but I primarily want to see that OBP from Rosario.

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    "With other stronger defensive center fielders in the system, it seems likely that he’ll have to play a corner outfield spot in Minnesota. That means he’ll have to show he can hit for power."  

    I've never really cared for these comments especially when I have so often seen Twins hitters in the past (Mauer, Punto, Valencia, Young, Morneau, Cuddyer) try to hit for more power only to have their OBP and average diminish without adding much if any power..    If the Twins of the near future have Sano, Arcia, Dozier, Vargas, Buxton and maybe Plouffe then table setters become more valuable and if we have Arcia in one corner then I definitely want speed in the other corner to go with Buxton.   If he hits for power then fine but I primarily want to see that OBP from Rosario.

     

    Precisely!

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    "With other stronger defensive center fielders in the system, it seems likely that he’ll have to play a corner outfield spot in Minnesota. That means he’ll have to show he can hit for power."  

    I've never really cared for these comments especially when I have so often seen Twins hitters in the past (Mauer, Punto, Valencia, Young, Morneau, Cuddyer) try to hit for more power only to have their OBP and average diminish without adding much if any power..    If the Twins of the near future have Sano, Arcia, Dozier, Vargas, Buxton and maybe Plouffe then table setters become more valuable and if we have Arcia in one corner then I definitely want speed in the other corner to go with Buxton.   If he hits for power then fine but I primarily want to see that OBP from Rosario.

    It's not about trying to hit for more power, it's about growing into one's body and swing. If Rosario wants to stick at a corner OF position, he's going to have to be either an OBP machine or he has to hit for power.

     

    Rosario is not an OBP machine.

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    Agreed... the power-by-position thing is pretty old-school, but it's wise that Cody brought it up because it is a topic that comes up here a lot. Some still think corner infielders and corner outfielders have to have big home run power. It's obviously nice, but it shouldn't be a deal breaker by any means. 

     

    Rosario's definitely not perfect, but he can be what Danny Santana was last year, with more power. He's also a very good defender. 

     

    With Santana, we see the lack of walks, but at least in 2014, he showed a very good strike zone knowledge. With Rosario, we see the lack of walks in the minor leagues too, but it'd be interesting to see over several big league games if he can control the strike zone in the same way. That'll be important. 

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    It's not about trying to hit for more power, it's about growing into one's body and swing. If Rosario wants to stick at a corner OF position, he's going to have to be either an OBP machine or he has to hit for power.

     

    Rosario is not an OBP machine.

    One would think that that would also be a requirement of someone who plays 1st base, which is also a traditional position that power is often expected. A high OBP can be a consolation to tradition. Here's to hoping Rosario finds one or the other, then. 

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    Rosario could see time if Dozier got hurt too. He's not that far away from having played 2nd.

     

    that said, he needs to get off to a good start in AA. I'm not sold on the AFL numbers just yet. I hope the kid comes out swinging, b/c for all the hype, this is also a pretty pivotal season for him. He cannot afford another year like last year.

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    This past season at Double-A his home run total doubled (from four to eight) in only 27 more at-bats. However, his slugging percentage dipped by 70 points. 

    His OPS dipped by 70 points, not his SLG.  And that dip was basically entirely AVG/OBP -- his isolated power at AA actually increased from 2013 to 2014.

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    Regarding the needing power in a corner OF, I think in 1-3 months this team may be screaming for better defense out of the corners and Rosario very well might be the prescription (like more cow bell). So I think it is a bit of a trade off. If the guy hits .280, 15 HR, 35 2B and provides an additional CF in the corner, that replaces a DH out there....I think it is a good trade off. 

     

    The question is how much does someone like Arcia need to outhit Rosario to accept the defense?

    Edited by tobi0040
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    Rosario's definitely not perfect, but he can be what Danny Santana was last year, with more power.

    Rosario can also post the highest MLB BABIP (min 400 AB) in almost 40 years?  Almost no one can be what Danny Santana was last year.

     

    Also, Santana had a .153 ISO last year, basically equal to Rosario's AA ISO, better than his 2013 AA ISO, and almost double his 2014 AFL ISO.  Rosario is capable of hitting a few more HR but his overall "power" in MLB is unlikely to be better than Santana's 2014 mark.

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    "With other stronger defensive center fielders in the system, it seems likely that he’ll have to play a corner outfield spot in Minnesota. That means he’ll have to show he can hit for power."  

    I've never really cared for these comments especially when I have so often seen Twins hitters in the past (Mauer, Punto, Valencia, Young, Morneau, Cuddyer) try to hit for more power only to have their OBP and average diminish without adding much if any power..    If the Twins of the near future have Sano, Arcia, Dozier, Vargas, Buxton and maybe Plouffe then table setters become more valuable and if we have Arcia in one corner then I definitely want speed in the other corner to go with Buxton.   If he hits for power then fine but I primarily want to see that OBP from Rosario.

    I would agree that power should not be a positional requirement.  However, I would also say that improving his power might be the "easiest" way for Rosario to be an acceptable MLB contributor soon.  He can't expect to hit .320 in MLB like Santana, nor can he expect his walk rate to reach heights it has never seen before, nor can he expect to be a defensive wizard right away either.

     

    His power, on the other hand, was decent at AA last year, was a plus for him at A ball, and a big plus for him in rookie league ball.

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    Regarding the needing power in a corner OF, I think in 1-3 months this team may be screaming for better defense out of the corners and Rosario very well might be the prescription (like more cow bell). So I think it is a bit of a trade off. If the guy hits .280, 15 HR, 35 2B and provides an additional CF in the corner, that replaces a DH out there....I think it is a good trade off. 

     

    The question is how much does someone like Arcia need to outhit Rosario to accept the defense?

    I like the high standards.   However, since the defense in the corners aside from a year of Span in right field has never really been that great the last 10 year and since only 4 outfielders overall have matched your criteria for offense in the last 10 years I think the standards might be a bit high.   In fact, if we got those stats along with GG defense from Buxton eventually I would probably be just fine with it.    It was easy research for the last 4 years because just a .280 average stuck out like a sore thumb.    I might have missed one or two but Cuddyer did it in 2011 and 2006 (just ok Defense).   D Young did it in 2010 (horrible D).,  Kubel in 2009 (ok D) Hunter in 2007 (great D).   Cuddyer and Hunter had another year that was close.     If we could get good corner defense from Rosario to go along with .330 OBP and 40 extra base hits of any kind that would be worthwhile.   Aside from the good D its what I would expect from Hunter this year. 

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    I like the high standards.   However, since the defense in the corners aside from a year of Span in right field has never really been that great the last 10 year and since only 4 outfielders overall have matched your criteria for offense in the last 10 years I think the standards might be a bit high.   In fact, if we got those stats along with GG defense from Buxton eventually I would probably be just fine with it.    It was easy research for the last 4 years because just a .280 average stuck out like a sore thumb.    I might have missed one or two but Cuddyer did it in 2011 and 2006 (just ok Defense).   D Young did it in 2010 (horrible D).,  Kubel in 2009 (ok D) Hunter in 2007 (great D).   Cuddyer and Hunter had another year that was close.     If we could get good corner defense from Rosario to go along with .330 OBP and 40 extra base hits of any kind that would be worthwhile.   Aside from the good D its what I would expect from Hunter this year. 

     

    Respectfully, Rosario has been an extra base hit machine.  He has shown enough pop to hit double digits in HR as well as a gap hitter with speed.

     

    2010 - 17 XBH in 64 games.   9-3-5  2B-3B-HR

     

    2011 - 41 XBH in 83 games. 10-10-21  2B-3B-HR

     

    2012 - 65 XBH in 136 games.    44-4-17   2B-3B-HR

     

    2013 - 59 XBH in 172 games.  36-10-13 2B-3B-HR

     

    2014 - 31 XBH in 87 games.  20-3-8  2B-3B-HR

    His average is .285 in the minors, with last year really dragging that down.   .280 might be somewhat lofty but not out of the question

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    Respectfully, Rosario has been an extra base hit machine.  He has shown enough pop to hit double digits in HR as well as a gap hitter with speed.

     

    2010 - 17 XBH in 64 games.   9-3-5  2B-3B-HR

     

    2011 - 41 XBH in 83 games. 10-10-21  2B-3B-HR

     

    2012 - 65 XBH in 136 games.    44-4-17   2B-3B-HR

     

    2013 - 59 XBH in 172 games.  36-10-13 2B-3B-HR

     

    2014 - 31 XBH in 87 games.  20-3-8  2B-3B-HR

    His average is .285 in the minors, with last year really dragging that down.   .280 might be somewhat lofty but not out of the question

     

    I guess I didn't actually respond to your original premise of the comparison to Arcia mainly because I don't expect Rosario to be battling for that spot.   Rosario with good defense and even a bit less than your standards for offense would get me excited for him being in center this year and taking over for Hunter either this year or for the following years in a corner.     We are not at cross purposes here.  I have been high on Rosario and hope he meets your expectations because that is a really good stat line..

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    With athleticism, quick hands, nice hit tool, and the capacity to continue to grow physically, I've always seen him as a 15 HR guy once he settles in at a level and stays. I would be surprised at a 20 HR season or two at some point in his career. But 30+ plus doubles yearly plus a few triples along with 15 homers and high Avg hit tool, I am SO OK with him in a corner OF spot.

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    Rosario could see time if Dozier got hurt too. He's not that far away from having played 2nd.

     

    that said, he needs to get off to a good start in AA. I'm not sold on the AFL numbers just yet. I hope the kid comes out swinging, b/c for all the hype, this is also a pretty pivotal season for him. He cannot afford another year like last year.

     

    I agree.  His AA numbers totally sucked.  I am down on Rosario as prospect--I wonder if he will ever make the grade.  If his numbers at Chattanooga resemble 2014 numbers--another prospect bites the dust.

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    I agree with Seth.  A corner OFer with 30+ doubles and 15 HRs should be able to stick in a corner spot.   Especially if you have a 2B who is hitting for power.

     

    That being said:  TR does use terms like "Corner bat".  What does that tell you about management thinking?  Maybe they expect Power from the corner spot.   One would think  Arcia; Sano; Dozier; and Vargas would be enough Power for any team.  Especially when you account for the number of guys who can hit anywhere from 15 to 20 homers (Buxton; Mauer; Plouffe; & Pinto).

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    I am concerned about the report that came out a couple days ago alleging that Rosario basically refused to run the hill in FM when the other minor league guys were running it. The impression i got was that a. he felt he was above that or b. he was too lazy to run it. I have no idea whether the report was valid or not but if so, I find it troubling.

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    I'd be very surprised if Rosario ends up in New Britain Chattanooga instead of Rochester to begin the season.   There are just too many outfielders projected at AA:

    CF Buxton

    Corners:  Kepler, Walker, Harrison,

     

    non prospects: Kvasnicka etc

     

    as is, one of them will have to rotate with a catcher who is not catching at DH and one to sit.   Rosario is ahead of all the above names, so he will likely start at AAA.

    (and yeah Kepler will likely play some 1B when DJ Hicks sits, but there is Mike Gonzalez to deal with too, if still around... )
    Pending a trade. 

     

    Just a Math problem and the best solutions is one that TR seems allergic to: 

    Trade prospects to get someone of value in the Majors...

    Edited by Thrylos
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    Regarding the needing power in a corner OF, I think in 1-3 months this team may be screaming for better defense out of the corners and Rosario very well might be the prescription (like more cow bell). So I think it is a bit of a trade off. If the guy hits .280, 15 HR, 35 2B and provides an additional CF in the corner, that replaces a DH out there....I think it is a good trade off. 

     

    The question is how much does someone like Arcia need to outhit Rosario to accept the defense?

     

    Really good point taken. But we might need to add Torii to the defensive suspect list, as well.  If the OF defense proves disastrous early-on, I can easily see Rosario getting the first call, and even possibly to CF.  Hunter or Arcia to DH, and eventually, some combination in the OF of Rosario LF-CF/Buxton CF/Santana/Plouffe/Mauer and either Hunter or Arcia- but not both at the same time,  Hunter getting shipped out in July really opens the door for both Rosario and Buxton to move into two of those spots.

     

    I hope Rosario rises to the challenge and seizes the opportunity just right there in front of him.

    Edited by jokin
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    I'd be very surprised if Rosario ends up in New Britain Chattanooga instead of Rochester to begin the season.   There are just too many outfielders projected at AA:

    CF Buxton

    Corners:  Kepler, Walker, Harrison,

     

    non prospects: Kvasnicka etc

     

    as is, one of them will have to rotate with a catcher who is not catching at DH and one to sit.   Rosario is ahead of all the above names, so he will likely start at AAA.

    (and yeah Kepler will likely play some 1B when DJ Hicks sits, but there is Mike Gonzalez to deal with too, if still around... )

    Pending a trade. 

     

    Just a Math problem and the best solutions is one that TR seems allergic to

    Trade prospects to get someone of value in the Majors...

     

    Just "seems allergic to"? Isn't it more like showing Count Dracula a crucifix? :o

     

    I agree with all of your points, but how often do the Twins promote (short of emergency) without a prize prospect "mastering" the previous level.  Clearly, Rosario hasn't done so yet.  I can easily envision an opening day Rochester OF roster replete with AAAAs plus Ortiz.

    Edited by jokin
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    Count me with Chief being nervous as to Rosario's attitude/application.  Slightly off topic, Chattanooga could have a spectacular line up at least early in the season this year.  Imagine:

     

    Polanco SS

    Rosario LF

    Buxton CF

    Sano 3B

    Walker RF

    Kepler 1B

    Harrison DH

    Michael 2B

    Turner C

     

    Berrios starting with Reed setting up for Burdi.

    Almost worth a road trip, even from Australia!

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    I will preface my comments by saying that I am not dismissing Rosario as a prospect with potential. 

     

    I do have two major concerns: his swing is somewhat suspect, and some would say unsound.  There have been successful MLB hitters without classic swings but it certainly isn't desirable.  Who knows if his quick hands can make up for it at the major league level.  I also still have a concern about the drug suspensions.  When it happens more than once, that indicates either an attitude of "I'm going to do what I want" or an addiction problem.  This will be a very interesting year to watch him.

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    Count me with Chief being nervous as to Rosario's attitude/application.  Slightly off topic, Chattanooga could have a spectacular line up at least early in the season this year.  Imagine:

     

    Polanco SS

    Rosario LF

    Buxton CF

    Sano 3B

    Walker RF

    Kepler 1B

    Harrison DH

    Michael 2B

    Turner C

     

    Berrios starting with Reed setting up for Burdi.

    Almost worth a road trip, even from Australia!

     

    Hopefully Rosario won't be there long, not only because I hope he will be in the majors (that too), but because Kepler should be playing defense in the outfield, which is where his future is.

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    Agreed... the power-by-position thing is pretty old-school, but it's wise that Cody brought it up because it is a topic that comes up here a lot. Some still think corner infielders and corner outfielders have to have big home run power. It's obviously nice, but it shouldn't be a deal breaker by any means.

    Not a deal breaker, but when you move a player down the defensive spectrum, it means he's now competing for a job with players who are there more for their bat.  Guys who can track a ball in the outfield, say, but lack the elite speed/vision/arm to play CF.  Better defense in LF may play a small role in roster decisions, but not like it would have in CF. 

     

    I don't think anyone is saying Rosario should change his batting approach if he's in LF; he should do whatever works best.  But his batting skills may not be elite enough, compared to other options of players for that same position.  And power will be one of the big difference makers.  That's the sense I take such statements as "That means he’ll have to show he can hit for power."  Not so much he should change, but can he do it?

     

    As for table setters for the power hitters who follow, I'll be happy to see the team solve that problem once it proves to be one. :)

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    Confused.

     

    I don't like pot. I don't advocate pot. But I don't hold it against those that do like it. And honestly, I don't care if Rosario tokes off the Diamond. But unless things like counting push-ups by 5's is just his sense of humor, I might just have a problem with Rosario's attitude.

     

    I am a big believer in what Rosario offers. I have been since the beginning. I hope I'm right. But I'm really confused how he can miss 50 games last season, never really seem to hit a groove when he comes back and put up mediocre numbers, and yet have TR and Molly both speak in terms of him being a viable candidate for the CF job. Is this some sort of secret motivational coach/GM speak for all the guys involved? Or do the "slow to promote" Twins actually feel Rosario is that close?

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